By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
AP photo: Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio goes out for a third quarter hand shake with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during their visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday
TAMPA, FL — With already four wins on the road this season, the Oakland Raiders have a chance to go 5-0 on the road if they can knock off the Buccaneers in Week 8 at Raymond James Stadium Sunday.
Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT.
The 33-16 Week 7 victory over the Jaguars in Jacksonville was a satisfying win for the organization and for head coach Jack Del Rio, who was fired by the Jaguars after nine seasons. Del Rio was booed by Jaguars fans while leading the Silver and Black on to the field.
After missing two games with turf toe, running back Latavius Murray returned to the starting lineup and gave the running game a boost by scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Murray led Oakland with 59 yards on 17 carries.
Quarterback Derek Carr continues to be one of the best passers in the league, after completing 23-of-37 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown to wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
After catching just two passes on four targets for 10 yards in Oakland’s 26-10 loss to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, Crabtree bounced back with eight catches (on 11 targets) for 96 yards. Crabtree hauled in a 2-yard touchdown catch to give Oakland a 20-6 lead shortly before halftime and the rout was on.
Oakland’s defense forced two interceptions and forced a fumble against a Jaguars (2-5) team that like Oakland, came into the 2016 season with high expectations but have turned into one of the more disappointing teams in the league.
Jacksonville finished with 344 yards of total offense, picking up most of those yards when the game was out of reach. It was the least amount of yards that Oakland’s 32nd ranked defense has surrendered this season.
Instead of traveling back to California then turning around to return to Florida, the Raiders (5-2) for the first time since 2001, remained in Florida and trained at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in preparation for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay (3-3) is an intriguing opponent for the Silver and Black, who shouldn’t overlook this team heading into next week’s showdown with the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football in Oakland.
The Buccaneers traveled to the West Coast and thrashed another bottom-feeder in the San Francisco 49ers 34-17 in Week 7.
Running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who was picked up on waivers from the Chicago Bears, has filled in nicely for oft-injured starter Doug Martin with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
After recording his first career 100-yard rushing game in a 17-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, Rodgers ran roughshod over the Niners for a career-high 154 yards on 26 carries. Oakland will need to stop the run early or Rodgers could have another breakout performance.
Tampa Bay found itself down 14-0 early before exploding for 27 unanswered points and piling up 249 yards on the ground. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston tossed three touchdowns and 269 yards on 21-of-30 passes and an interception.
Even without veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, Tampa Bay has some play-makers that can pose problems for Oakland’s defense.
Against San Francisco, wide receiver Mike Evans caught eight passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, while fourth year wide receiver Russell Shepard hauled in five passes for 77 yards including a 19-yard touchdown catch from Winston right before the end of the first half.
Evans is tied with Crabtree for the league lead with six touchdown catches this season.
Backup running back Peyton Barber’s 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter iced the game for Tampa Bay. Barber finished with 84 yards on 12 carries.
One match up to watch out for will be between Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper and Buccaneers rookie cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
Cooper lit up the former Florida cornerback with 10 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s 42-21 victory on Sep. 20, 2014 in Tuscaloosa.