Winners of two straight, the Oakland Raiders host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in an important interconference game. With both teams teetering on the verge of playoff contention, the Raiders hope to make up some ground in the standings by playing five of their next seven games at home. The Buccaneers won an impressive game at favored Minnesota a week ago.
With its defense steadily improving, Tampa Bay has also seen the emergence of quarterback Josh Freeman, who has passed for 10 touchdowns against two interceptions in his past four games. Running back Doug Martin had his best professional game against the Vikings, totaling 214 yards from scrimmage.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Raiders -1.5, O/U 46.5
ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (3-4): Tampa Bay will be without All-Pro left guard Carl Nicks, who was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury. Nicks has been an anchor of the offensive line and is the second guard the Bucs have lost for the season. The loss of Nicks comes at the worst time as Freeman and the Tampa Bay offense had finally gotten untracked. The Buccaneers are averaging 34 points over the past three games.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (3-4): Darren McFadden rushed for a season-high 114 yards in Oakland’s 26-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The Raiders rushed for 95 of their 135 yards in the final 15 minutes to put the game away. Oakland also limited Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles to just four yards on five carries while improving to 11th in the NFL against the run. Oakland is 6-1 in regular-season action against the Bucs and has beaten Tampa Bay four straight times at home.
1. Tampa Bay traded troubled CB Aqib Talib and a seventh-round draft pick to New England on Thursday for a fourth-round selection..
2. Oakland WR Denarius Moore has scored in three straight games.
3. Oakland RB Mike Goodson came out of the Chiefs game with turf toe. He is questionable for Tampa Bay.
PREDICTION: Raiders 24, Buccaneers 21
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- HandProb Week 1 | probable
Vea is recovering from hand surgery but is expected to be available for the season opener versus the Saints.