By Dave Thomas

As the Oakland Raiders prepare for a two-game trip to Florida, some question marks remain regarding some injured players from a week ago, most notably running back Latavius Murray.

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Murray, having missed the last couple of games with a toe injury, could certainly provide Oakland (4-2) with a spark in the backfield if good to go this Sunday. Murray’s absence this past Sunday in a 26-10 loss at home to Kansas City was noticeable. Oakland was limited in its ground game against the Chiefs on a sloppy and rainy afternoon. As a result, the Raiders could only muster an early touchdown pass and one Sebastian Janikowski field goal on the day. Murray (the most notable of Oakland’s injuries this week), saw limited practice on Wednesday and Thursday, leaving him a question mark for this Sunday’s contest.

With that loss behind them, the Raiders now embark on back-to-back games in the Sunshine State, starting with this Sunday’s AFC match-up with the 2-3 Jacksonville Jaguars. That game is to be followed by an Oct. 30 date with the Bucs in Tampa.

For the Raiders, this two-game stretch is important on several fronts, notably because Oakland then has a home date on Nov. 6 with the Denver Broncos. Heading into action this weekend, the two are tied for first place in the AFC West.

Can Oakland Restart the Offense?

While Jacksonville fell behind Chicago 14-0 last weekend, the Jags rallied for a 17-16 victory in the Windy City. To date, Jacksonville has given up 27 points or ore in all three of its losses.

Simply put, Oakland can score on this team if QB Derek Carr can continue to have a great connection with second-year wide receivers Amari Cooper (10 catches last week) and eighth-year veteran Michael Crabtree (31 receptions and 5 TD’s on the season). What would allow Oakland even more potential offensive success against Jacksonville would be getting Murray back in the formation. If that doesn’t occur, expect DeAndre Washington (219 yards on the season) to get a number of carries.

Jacksonville Has Its Own Injury Issues

Despite squeaking out the win against what is quite frankly a very bad Chicago team, Jacksonville needed the win to stay relevant in the AFC South race (Houston currently leads the division at 4-2).

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Jacksonville will enter the game versus Oakland with a few injury questions of its own on both sides of the ball.

Starting tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) is listed as questionable, while wide receiver Allen Hurns (shoulder) is expected to play, though possibly limited snaps. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Jared Odrick (hip) is questionable, with corner Prince Amukamara (hamstring) opting for a full practice on Friday.

Beat The Teams You Are Supposed To

If Oakland wants to continue atop the AFC West, games like the next two are nothing short of crucial.

With a pair of games left versus Denver, not to mention road trips to division rivals Kansas City and San Diego looming, wins against the teams one is expected to beat prove critical. Oakland, which does finish with five of its final seven games at home, ironically opened as a one-point underdog at Jacksonville.

At the end of the day, these next two Sundays could go a long way in determining whether or not Oakland is back atop the AFC West at season’s end for the first time since 2002.

Raiders Official Injury Report

Questionable:

  • (G/C) Jon Feliciano (Calf) – Limited Practice
  • (C) Rodney Hudson (Knee) – Limited Practice
  • (G) Gabe Jackson (Knee) – Limited Practice
  • (RB) Taiwan Jones (Knee) – Limited Practice
  • (RB) Latavius Murray (Toe) – Limited Practice
  • (S) – Brynden Trawick (Shoulder) – Did Not Practice
  • (T) – Menelik Watson (Calf) – Limited Practice
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Doubtful:

  • (G/T) Vadal Alexander (Ankle) – Did Not Participate In Practice