Greatness On The Road  

Marriott  

Seahawks, Raiders travel east with upsets on the mind

  • By David Weiner NFL.com
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It takes a lot to win on the road in the NFL, but four teams possess the ingredients necessary to pull off this difficult feat in Week 2. These four are each in a good position to get a difficult road win based on matchups, injuries, history and other circumstances entering this weekend's action.

Oakland at Buffalo (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Venue: Ralph Wilson Stadium

Last time at site: The Bills edged the Raiders, 24-23, in Week 3 of the 2008 season.

Reason for road optimism: The Raiders are coming off a short week, but they emerged relatively healthy from their Monday night victory in Denver. Running back Darren McFadden, quarterback Jason Campbell and Oakland's offensive line can build off that strong showing and prove it was no fluke, in a tough road environment. It's still up for debate if the Bills dominated in Week 1 because they drew a disintegrating Chiefs team or if they really are a vastly improved team in Year 2 under coach Chan Gailey. Either way, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick should have a tougher time against the Raiders' underrated pass rush. Oakland has a good opportunity to capitalize on the temperate early season Buffalo weather and return to the Bay Area with a gaudy 2-0 record for their home opener in Week 3.

Philadelphia at Atlanta (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)


Venue: Georgia Dome

Last time at site: With an injured Matt Ryan replaced by Chris Redmond and Michael Vick returning to Atlanta for the first time in an Eagles uniform, Philly clobbered the Falcons, 34-7, in Week 13 of the 2009 season.

Reason for road optimism: While the Falcons went undefeated at the Georgia Dome in the regular season last year, the Eagles will carry a lot of emotion into this game with Vick returning "home" to play his former team in prime time. Vick and the other stars of this Eagles "Dream Team" are battle-tested veterans who know how to rise to the occasion, especially in tough road environments. They're pretty good in domes, too, as they showed vs. the Rams in Week 1. The Falcons have a nice team, but nice doesn't always get it done in the NFL; you also need a little nasty, of which the Eagles have plenty. And while the Falcons spent time in the offseason making their offense more dynamic, they showed in the opening week at Chicago their defense needs work.

Cleveland at Indianapolis (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium

Last time at site: In Week 3 of the 2005 season, the Colts edged the Browns, 13-6, in a rare defensive struggle.

Reason for road optimism: With last week's trauma behind them, you'd think a return to comfy Lucas Oil Stadium and a mediocre opponent would be just what the doctor ordered for Indianapolis. But you can't just insert any quarterback into the Colts' tricky offense, especially one who specializes in bombs and deep outs when the playbook calls for quick, precision passes. Kerry Collins struggled in a Week 1 loss to Houston, and the offense bogged down behind him. The Browns were on their way to an opening day win before an inexplicable defensive breakdown allowed an uncovered TD pass to win the game for Cincinnati. With linebackers Gary Brackett and Ernie Sims both ruled out for the Colts, Cleveland will likely offer a steady dose of Peyton Hillis up the middle, which could extend Indy's nightmare another week.

Seattle at Pittsburgh (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Venue: Heinz Field

Last time at site: Pittsburgh dominated Seattle, 21-0, in Week 5 of the 2007 season.

Reason for road optimism: Now this would be an upset. The Steelers will be one ticked-off team after the drubbing they took from archrival Baltimore in Week 1. The Seahawks, who some predicted will have the worst record in the league this year, are reeling from their own bitter divisional loss. But take a closer look: Seattle, which lost Sunday's game on special teams, held Frank Gore to 2.7 yards per carry and gave up just 124 passing yards. Furthermore, the Seahawks played without WR Sidney Rice and OL Robert Gallery, both of whom could return against Pittsburgh, while the Steelers will be starting a rookie at right tackle after losing Willie Colon for the season.

 

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