The magic number this week is seven, as in only seven players are listed on the Oakland Raiders’ injury report for Week 16. Luckily, only one player is listed as out while the other six are either probable or questionable and should all play on Sunday.
However, there are two notable names on this week’s injury list which may cause some concern for Raiders fans. The first is Tyvon Branch, who is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. He played last week, but was ineffective with only four tackles and no passes broken up. Branch was limited in practice on Friday, his only work on the practice field all week. Although officially listed as questionable, Branch should be good to go, but the question is how effective he will be. Oakland must rely on him to shut down Cam Newton if the quarterback escapes contain and not being on the practice field means Branch may be a little rusty. He will also be tasked with not allowing any long passing plays especially to receivers like Greg Olsen and Steve Smith.
The defense has the other notable injury as well with Richard Seymour being ruled out with knee and hamstring issues. The big man ate up blockers on the defensive line, but Desmond Bryant played well last week in place of Seymour so there shouldn’t be too much concern. Of course, this week poses a more difficult challenge than last week, most notably keeping Newton in the pocket as much as possible. Even though Bryant played well a week ago, having Seymour on the field would be a huge psychological boost for the Raiders. The pressure now falls on Tommy