NFL: Raiders-Dolphins preview

The Examiner breaks down the Raiders-Dolphins game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.

THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY

1. Defense was one of the few bright spots of last year’s Raiders team, but through three games, the Silver and Black are ranked 20th in total defense. Can linebacker Thomas Howard — who leads the team with tackles (19) and is second in interceptions (2) — spark a unit that is allowing an unsightly 381.7 yards per game?

2. A clear advantage the Raiders have over the Dolphins in this matchup is in the ground game. LaMont Jordan has broken the 100-yard barrier the last two weeks and is leading a rushing attack that is ranked third in the league. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are allowing 166 yards per game, which puts them near the basement. Don’t be surprised if Jordan gets 30 carries.

3. While the Raiders’ defense has disappointed, the Dolphins’ has underperformed as well. Will Zach Thomas, who was still feeling effects of a Week 1 concussion, be able to suit up and stop the bleeding for a Miami unit that was supposed to be a strength?

KEY MATCHUPS

COOPER CARLISLE vs. JOEY PORTER

Carlisle: With QB status uncertain, Raiders’ offensive line is sure to be tested with blitzes.

Porter: Fiery LB guaranteed Dolphins victory Thursday. Will Raiders make him pay?

RONALD CURRY vs. RENALDO HILL

Curry: Unexpected team leader in receiving yards faces NFL’s seveth-best pass-coverage unit.

Hill: Free safety tied for team lead in interceptions (1) will look to shut down passing attack.

NNAMDI ASOMUGHA vs. CHRIS CHAMBERS

Asomugha: Leader of Raiders’ secondary must bring his A-game to contain QB Trent Green’s targets.

Chambers: Dolphins’ prime receiving option is off to a great start, having already gained 302 yards.

COACHES' CORNER

Lane Kiffin will try to bring his team to .500 in Miami. It looks like QB Josh McCown’s status will be a game-time decision, but if Daunte Culpepper gets the nod, the team might be in better shape.

Cam Cameron is feeling the heat and he will be desperate to earn his first win in a city that was sick of losing before he even got there. The key to his success will be Ronnie Brown, whose first good game came last week.

THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …

Neither team has looked spectacular so far in this young season, so don’t expect a high-flying offensive performance from either side. The Dolphins will try to grind it out and win ugly, while the Raiders will only be able to hang for a while. DOLPHINS 13, RAIDERS 10

Raiders at Dolphins

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: KPIX (Ch. 5)

Radio: KSFO (560 AM)

NFLOakland Raiders & NFLsports

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