By Abraham Gutierrez
Following brutal performances against the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, the (1-2) Miami Dolphins face one of the worse teams in the league in Week 4, as they travel across the pond to take on the winless (0-3) Oakland Raiders. Historic Wembley Stadium in London, England, will be the site for this AFC East vs. AFC West showdown, scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. ET on CBS Sports (Miami CBS4).
The Dolphins and Raiders start Week 4 at the cellar spot of their respective divisions, and with more questions than answers for head coaches Joe Philbin and Dennis Allen. Miami is coming off a 34-19 loss at the hands of the Chiefs, while Oakland fell victim to the Patriots by a final score of 9-16.
For starters, Miami’s offensive woes have been very well documented through three games. The Fins come in ranked 24th in the league in points per game (19.3), 22nd in total yards (327.3), 28th in passing yards (190.0), and the only bright spot comes in the rushing department, where they rank seventh (137.3) in the National Football League.
Across the sidelines, Oakland comes in dead last in three of the four major offensive categories, which has coach Allen’s seat feeling a little hotter than Philbin’s. The Raiders, whose offensive coordinator is Greg Olson, rank 32nd in the league in points (12.3), total yards (254.3) and rushing yards (64.3), while their passing game is good enough for 29th in the NFL (190.0).
There are a number of offensive players to look out for on Oakland’s roster including rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who has completed 68-of-108 pass attempts for 588 yards, 3 touchdowns and three interceptions for a quarterback rating of 74.9.
Even though he’s off to a slow start, running back Darren McFadden will also demand plenty of attention. The former Heisman Trophy winner has the ability to hit the homerun at any time during the game. However, “Run DMC” starts Week 4 with an anemic 111 yards on 34 carries for an average of 3.3 yards-per-rush and one touchdown.
As far as the aerial attack is concerned, James Jones is slowly becoming Carr’s favorite target. In his eighth season as a pro, the former San Jose State standout comes in with 15 receptions for 189 yards and 2 scores. Tight end Mychal Rivera is second in the team with 10 grabs for 73 yards, but has yet to find the end zone.
On the defensive side of the football, Miami’s attack appears to match up well against Oakland’s “D.” Led by fiery defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the Silver and Black defense is 14th in the NFL in points allowed (21.7), 12th in total yards surrendered (342.0), fourth at defending the pass (183.3), and 30th at stopping their opponents’ rushing attacks (158.7).
While it’s clear that Miami’s game plan should consist of pounding the rock, the Raiders’ players to look out for on defense include strong safety Tyvon Branch, who has 29 tackles thus far (23 solo, 6 assists and a sack), as well as the ageless, free safety Charles Woodson (21 tackles, 15 solo, 6 assists).
On special teams, Oakland possesses one of the best kickers in the history of the National Football League in Sebastian Janikowski. The franchise’s all-time leading scorer is off to another solid start, as he’s a perfect 3-3 on the season with his longest field goal being a 49-yarder.
As far as the head-to-head history between these teams is concerned, the Raiders come in leading Dolphins, 19-16-1. Nevertheless, Miami comes in riding a 4-game win streak over Oakland, and have taken 10 of the last 12 matchups.
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Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .