Coming off an ugly offensive performance that dropped them back to .500, the Oakland Raiders need a win Sunday to re-establish themselves in the playoff race.
The same could be said of the Miami Dolphins.
The clubs look like mirror images of each other heading into their Week 12 matchup in Oakland, where third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen may start again for the banged-up Dolphins.
Forced into action after injuries to Chad Henne and Chad Pennington the previous week against Tennessee, Thigpen looked lost guiding the offense in a 16-0 defeat to Chicago last Thursday. He was sacked six times and intercepted once as Miami (5-5) managed a season-low 187 yards.
Only Oakland (5-5) had fewer in Week 11, totaling 182 last Sunday as its three-game winning streak ended in a 35-3 loss at Pittsburgh. Coach Tom Cable replaced quarterback Jason Campbell with Bruce Gradkowski during the third quarter, but he said Campbell will start against Miami.
The Raiders also will have Richard Seymour in the lineup even though the defensive end was ejected from last week's game for his open-handed punch of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Seymour was fined $25,000 but not suspended.
"The biggest thing you've got to do is get it behind us," Cable said. "We all feel mad as hell about what happened (Sunday). I don't think we feel sorry for ourselves or anything like that, which is good. So it's time to move on. We've got Miami coming in here. There's a lot that we're playing for in these last six weeks."
Oakland still has a good chance in the AFC West race. The Raiders are 3-0 in the division and tied for second place with San Diego, one game behind Kansas City - with meetings looming against each division foe.
The Dolphins also are holding out postseason hopes even though they're 3 1/2 games behind AFC East co-leaders New York and New England.
"It's possible," linebacker Channing Crowder said. "(Coach) Tony (Sparano) said all our team goals - winning the division, winning the Super Bowl and all that - are still in sight. We just made it hard for ourselves."
If Henne can't return - Pennington has been ruled out for the season - a late surge would almost certainly require a quick improvement from Thigpen, who is 1-11 as a starter. His lone win came with Kansas City at Oakland on Nov. 30, 2008, although he was just 15 of 22 for 162 yards and an interception in a 20-13 victory.
Thigpen could certainly use a more effective running game. Neither Ronnie Brown nor Ricky Williams has been particularly effective lately for the Dolphins, who have averaged 66.7 rushing yards in their last three games and had a season-low 39 against the Bears.
"The bottom line is in the first 11 plays we ran the ball five times and we had minus-8 yards," Sparano said. "So that's not very good and we got to do a better job of that."
A weakened offensive line has not helped. The Dolphins may be without top center Joe Berger and backup Cory Procter on Sunday, while standout left tackle Jake Long will likely play through a shoulder injury.
Behind the emergence of breakout star Darren McFadden, the Raiders have the NFL's second-ranked rushing offense, but they had a season-low 61 yards against the Steelers, who held McFadden to 14 yards on 10 carries.
"It was just one of those things where we didn't get going," McFadden said.
Marshall left last week's loss with a hamstring strain, while Asomugha has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
A former division rival of Oakland while with Denver, Marshall has averaged 74.6 receiving yards in five career appearances against the Raiders, catching a touchdown in each of the last two.
Miami has won seven of eight against the Raiders, including its last four in Oakland. The Dolphins also have been better on the road in 2010, going 4-1, but the Raiders have the same record at home - including three consecutive wins.