The Oakland Raiders, winners of three straight games, will travel cross country for a 10 AM PST kickoff against the Miami Dolphins, who have won three out of their last four. Many people who follow football would call this a trap game for the Raiders. But there are no trap games come December.
Oakland once again will have to rely on back up running back Michael Bush, who will start for the fourth straight game since Darren McFadden went down to a foot injury against the Denver Broncos. Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore will also be out for the Raiders as Carson Palmer will once again have to rely on Louis Murphy, Chaz Schillens, and Darius Heyward-Bey to make plays come Sunday afternoon.
On the defensive side, lineman Tommy Kelly and Kameron Wimbley are questionable for the game with injuries. The Raiders might be without middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who was arrested Wednesday in Alabama on weapons charges. There is no word on weather McClain will play.
The defense will look for a repeat of Sunday's 25-20 win over the Chicago Bears. The defense held Matt Forte in check while forcing three Chicago interceptions in what was made a very close contest. Carson Palmer threw for over 300 yards while Michael Bush put the game out of reach with a fourth quarter touchdown.
The Raiders need to win this game to keep their lead on the AFC West ahead of a surging Denver Broncos team. The Raiders are seeking their first playoff birth since 2002. A win will give Oakland their first four game winning streak since that same season, where they represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. A win will also secure the Raiders second straight 8 win season.
Miami comes to the contest at 3-8 but have won three out of four. Matt Moore has come in at quarterback and has thrown for 1,607 yards and 8 TDs in five starts for Miami. He is 3-2 as the Dolphins Starter.
Carson Palmer has thrown for 1,212 yards and 6 TDs in his 4 starts, and half of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Palmer is 3-1 as a starter and has injected life into an injury depleted Raiders offense.
For the Raiders to win they have to shut down a well rested Dolphins offense, Miami played the Thanksgiving Day game (loss at Dallas). To do that they have to force Matt Moore into making bad throws. To do that Oakland has to stop the run. The Dolphins won three straight games before a short week at Dallas. They will be well rested. Many might call this a trap game... but like I said, there are no trap games in December. And for the Raiders to make the postseason they need to win as many games in December as they can. And it starts Sunday in Miami.