Raiders key matchup No. 3: Raiders vs. eastern time zone

Raiders key matchup No. 3: Raiders vs. eastern time zone
December 21, 2012, 9:15 am
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The Raiders have lost their last nine eastern time zone games by a combined score of 315-155. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Panthers matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (CBS), at Bank of America Stadium

Raiders vs. East Coast woes

Tale of the tape
Raiders Will travel most of any NFL team in 2012
Eastern Time Zone three times zones away

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' troubles of late on the East Coast, specifically, when playing in the Eastern Time Zone, are well documented.

But the numbers are even more starkly depressing when they're right in your face and threaten to become a Mayan-style self-fulfilling prophesy.

"We talked about it, we know it," admitted quarterback Carson Palmer. "All this is an opportunity to change that. Go into a different time zone, playing at 10 a.m. our time. We know what our stats are as far as that's concerned. All this is, is a challenge and we need to change that perception."

When it comes to Oakland's troubles three time zones away, though, perception has become reality heading into Sunday's penultimate game of 2012 at Carolina.

Consider: the Raiders have lost their last nine games in the Eastern Time Zone, getting outscored by a combined 315-155. Meaning they have been thumped by an average score of 35-17. This season alone, Oakland has lost at Miami, 35-13, at Atlanta, 23-20, at Baltimore, 55-20, and at Cincinnati, 34-10.

The last time Oakland won a game on the East Coast? Try the Bruce Gradkowski comeback game at Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, 2009.

In fact, the Raiders have had issues back east for more than 10 years now. Since Dec. 15, 2002, when they lost at Miami, 23-17, the Raiders are just 5-26 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone.

“Obviously, the distance that you have to travel, the time of the game, those are factors in the game," said coach Dennis Allen. "But really what it boils down to is really your mindset. You have to be able to block out all those external factors and focus in on the things you have to do in the game to try to win the football game. You can’t allow any of those external factors to influence you."

With 28,700 air miles by the end of this season, according to Grantland.com, the Raiders will have traveled the most of any NFL team in 2012. And per NFL.com, "Teams traveling under 1,000 miles for a game win 43 percent of the team. The number drops to 40.3 percent when teams travel between 1,000 and 1,999 miles, and plummets to 39.8 percent when they travel over 2,000 miles."

So what specifically, if anything, have the Raiders stressed this week in anticipation of playing in Charlotte, North Carolina?

"Coming out fast," Palmer said. "You've got to come out fast. They're a team that scores fast and has struggled late, so we need to match their intensity early. We need to come out of the gates firing. We need to find a way to score early and slow them down early, because that's something that they've been really good at."