Coming off of the bye week, the Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to Oakland in Week Seven to battle the Raiders. As a conference, it's no secret that the AFC is weak this year, and despite having a 1-4 record, the Jaguars certainly aren't out of the running yet for a potential Wild Card spot. The Houston Texans look to have full control of the AFC South, so if the Jaguars want to have any shot of making it to the playoffs as a Wild Card team this year, they must leave the Golden State with a win on Sunday.
On the injury front, the Jaguars will be without WR Laurent Robinson, S Dwight Lowery, and LB Daryl Smith. Chris Prosinski will start in place of Lowery, which certainly isn't good news for Jacksonville. The Raiders will be without TE Richard Gordon, CB Shawntae Spencer, and former Jaguars OT Khalif Barnes. Earlier in the week, it was looking as though Daryl Smith would make his season debut against the Raiders, but Kyle Bosworth will continue to fill in at that spot, which is undoubtedly another disadvantage for a struggling Jacksonville team. Luckily, Cecil Shorts will start in place of Laurent Robinson, after making some great plays during his limited playing time this season.
The Jaguars lead the all-time series over the Raiders with a 4-1 mark. Oakland's only win in the series came during the first meeting between the two teams in 1996. Most recently, the Jaguars defeated the Raiders in a shootout in North Florida in 2010, with Jacksonville coming out on top by a score of 38-31. The most alarming stat, however, may be that the Jaguars haven't won a game on the west coast since 2004. Ironically enough, that victory came against the Raiders, 13-6.
With key players out on the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars defense will certainly be tested against a speedy Oakland offense. Blaine Gabbert and company will have be kicking on all cylinders this afternoon, and that may be a lot to ask of an offense that doesn't seem that much improved over last year's colossal disappointment. If the Jaguars want to have any hope of going on a run towards the postseason, it has to start today in Oakland. If they can't come out victorious, it may be time to really start looking towards the 2013 NFL Draft.
The game kicks off at 4:25 pm EST from the O.co Coliseum. Next week, the Jaguars will travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers.
Prediction: JAC 24 – OAK 23