Big Week for the Raiders and Your’s Truly

Packers vs Raiders.  These teams have had some epic battles in the past, probably none of them more memorable than Superbowl 2 featuring the original #3, Daryle  “The Mad Bomber” LaMonica .  Although the Raiders lost that game they put up a hell of a fight.  Let’s hope the current #3 brings it tomorrow like LaMonica brought it back in ’68.  Of course it would be nice to have Biletnikoff and a jar of stick’em handy too……  Just for fun here’s a short synopsis film from that game: Raiders vs Packers Super Bowl II.  Hopefully things turn out a little better this time around.

Sorry I’ve been so quiet as of late. It’s finals week and I’ve been busy stressing about school. That being said, I’ll make this post brief. The Raiders face their biggest challenge of the season Sunday in Green Bay vs a Packers team that seems unstoppable heading into week 14. Not only is the play execution of their offense nearly flawless, they can play in the cold. The Raiders have a horrible track record in cold-weather games. Tuck rule, anybody? I am just about the most devoted Raiders fan in existence but even my faith is being tested this week. All of the off-field problems that the Raiders have been having this season are not helping anything right now. It started with Jason Campbell, then Al Davis dies. How could things get any worse? Then last week it was McClain being a thug and this week it’s Chris Johnson’s sister getting murdered and his mom being shot but living to tell about it. It seems we just can’t catch a break this year. The game related issues are starting to pile up as well, with 14 Raiders listed on the injury report. The list includes key playmakers such as:

DID NOT PRACTICE:
Chris Johnson (not injury related)
Jacoby Ford
Taiwan Jones
Darren McFadden
Denarius Moore
John Henderson

LIMITED PARTICIPANT:
Tommy Kelly
Jarvis Moss
Chaz Schilens
Trevor Scott (this is actually an upgrade, good sign)
Richard Seymour

Kevin Boss and Michael Huff participated fully in Friday’s practice. (Thank God because I’m starting Boss in my fantasy league for the first round of our playoffs this week)

With Schilens listed as probable and Moore and Ford listed as out the Raiders are down to 3, count ’em, 3 wide receivers that they can count on to start. I thought to myself when the season began that it was just silly for us to roll with only one fullback and 7 wide receivers (Nick Miller was the seventh), but it seems like someone knew what they were doing. If we hadn’t been that deep at WR things could be a lot uglier than they are right now. Having Murphy, Housh, and Heyward-Bey as our starting receivers with absolutely zero depth behind them is scary. The coaching staff better be on it this week. I know a lot of fans were very upset that Marcel Reece was hardly utilized against the Dolphins last week. Hopefully that’s not the case this week because the guy creates horrible mismatches and Green Bay has the absolute worst pass defense in the NFL right now (well, almost, it’s ranked 31st). Utilizing Reece at the right moments could be key to winning this game but let’s not forget about Boss too. He has been heavily underutilized this season as well. Although we have only 3 receivers we have Reece who can easily fill in as a fourth, and Boss, who can provide a big body and sure hands on the check-downs. We need to air it out. If any of you watched the Packers vs Giants game then you already know the blueprint for beating the Cheese Heads. Pass, Pass, Pass. We just have to be smart about it. Fuck Green Bay and their perfect season. GO RAIDERS!

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Massacre in Miami

Oh boy.  That was embarrassing.  This game was crucial for several reasons.  First, to make it to 4 wins in a row, which we haven’t done since 2002.  Second, because it’s Miami and they’re 3-8 (well, 4-8 now).  Third, it’s Miami.  Every time we play these guys they screw our season up.  No matter how good we’re doing any given year when we play Miami they are always a pain in the ass for us.  It would have also been an added bonus to have a little confidence booster heading into our toughest game of the season next week.  To lose is one thing, but to get humiliated has a whole different effect on morale.  These guys are going to be dragging their dicks in the dirt all week long while thinking ahead to the impending ass-whooping the Cheese Heads are gonna lay on them.  In addition to McClain’s current sideshow and everything else that has led up to this point it seems as if there is someone, somewhere, that is intent on the Raiders not having a winning season.  If we manage to salvage a playoff berth I will know for certain that Al Davis is still hanging around somewhere pushing people around and pulling strings.  We don’t stand a chance to make it as a wildcard really at this point so we have to win out or die trying.

Hue Jackson and Carson Palmer post-game interviews:

Unfortunately our destiny is no longer in our hands now that Denver has caught us in the rankings.  We’ve already split the series 1-1 with them so it will depend completely on the rest of their opponents to salvage our post-season hopes.  The rest of their season is no cake-walk either.  Week 14 they face Chicago, who will probably pose their toughest challenge yet because the Bears LOVE to stuff the run.  Week 15 is vs. New England, week 16 vs. the Bills, and week 17 vs. the Chiefs.  Not an easy home stretch but the Bears, Pats, and Chiefs games are all at home so that’s a big advantage.

The Raiders don’t have a nice home stretch either.  Next week we have the Packers @GB, followed by the Lions @home, then the Chiefs @Arrowhead, and finally the Chargers @home.  I fully expect us to win the Chiefs and Chargers matchups.  The Lions are trending downward right now so I’m hopeful there, and I know anything can happen, so I haven’t TOTALLY counted us out next week against the Packers (I think I might need my head checked).

As it stands right now the Raiders are 7-5 overall and 2-2 in the division.

Denver is 7-5 overall and 3-2 in the division.  This divisional record is the first of many in a line of tiebreakers should that ever occur.  This means we are not “tied” for first place, we are in second.  I don’t know about you but that’s not satisfying enough for me.   We are the most talented team in the AFC West.  We just need to get out of our own way.

Ultimately I only see Denver winning 1 out of the next 3 games.  I think that they will beat the Chiefs but their losing streak will start next week against Chicago.  Chicago has the right defense to stop them.  Once they stop the Tebow express every other team is gonna watch that tape over, and over, and over.  I think that we will end up winning 2 of the next four games.  I’m playing conservative here and calling Detroit a loss.  I’m 90% certain we will beat the Chiefs and the Chargers.  Detroit will depend upon which Matt Stafford shows up…. the ultra sharp and accurate Matt Stafford or the one that’s been afraid to take a shot further than 15 yards since he got a boo-boo on his finger (his relationship with Calvin Johnson has suffered because of it and has proved very costly in my fantasy league).

If my predictions stand then we will narrowly squeak into first place by one win at 9-7 while the Broncos fall to 8-8.  I had high hopes for double digit wins this season but I’ve come back down to earth lately.  It’s still possible.  If the Raiders who like playing football show up in Green Bay next week then I think we can hang in there and even possibly beat them.  This team has been very much the epitome of Jekyll and Hyde over the past few weeks and I just can’t understand it.  Don’t these guys get paid enough money that they should be so excited to be on the field that it looks like they all just had an eight-ball?  If we can just stop rocking our own boat we could do this!

Rolando “WTF?” McClain

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No sooner had i just finished my last post, where i talk about the importance of our linebackers over the next few weeks, than I heard about this. Come on dude. Really? This guy is just too much for me this year. First off he’s been in & out with an ankle sprain all season long. That’s excusable by itself, but when you add in all the half-assed attempts he’s made on the field and now this latest bullshit antic? Bullshit, exactly. This is the absolute worst time to pull this shit. Your team is playoff bound for the first time in 9 years man! Get a clue! I think we need to shitcan this sandbagger and bring in a vet in the middle. Look at that idiot smiling at the camera while being arrested. Douche.

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Raiders vs Dolphins: Preview

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We’re getting ready to enter the home stretch on the road to the post-season as we head into week 13.  The Raiders have several winnable matchups on the way but none of them will be easy.  Today we’ll discuss the Miami Dolphins.

Coming into this game Miami has the 7th ranked run defense in the league. This shouldn’t be a problem though based on the way Bush has been performing lately. He’s already ripped off over 100 yards from scrimmage in 4 of the last 5 games and damn near 100 last Sunday against Chicago. He put up close to 200 yards total vs the Chargers. These are elite numbers and should put to bed any doubt about his effectiveness against Miami.

Miami’s pass defense is ranked a lowly 24th. This is where the Raiders need to turn it on. Jacoby Ford is still looking unlikely to return this week, as is Darren McFadden. Fortunately Denarius Moore was practicing Wednesday. Although his participation was limited I fully expect him to play. This kid is a fighter and he’ll do anything he can to get back out there. Assuming the Raiders have him back in the lineup they’ll be doing great. If not, oh well. The caliber of play we saw from the rest of the receiving corps last week, to include Marcel Reece, was astounding. Hue Jackson’s “next man up” philosophy seems to be working for him.

What the Raiders need to do on defense:
CONTAIN THE QB!
QB scrambles for 20+ yards are becoming all too common for this defense. While I like blaming this solely on Bresnahan, there has been some real WTF moments from our linebackers this season.

The Raiders key to success through the next 5 games is linebacker play. No more half-assing from McClain and Curry needs to stay focused. I’m not too worried about Wimbley, he’s pure beast. If our secondary can stay healthy we’ll be great there as well. Chris Johnson actually practiced Wednesday which is exciting. Chekwa and Van Dyke are not on the injury report which is good news but there are still a few player listed that concern me. Rolando McClain did not practice Wednesday, but this could just be precautionary to give his ankle some extra healing time. My major concern is at right defensive end. With Shaughnessy out for the season, Jarvis Moss was filling in nicely until he went out. He was then replaced by Lamarr Houston, who is now also on the injury report. Moss did not practice but Houston was a light participant. This is kind of good but there is little to no depth now at that side of the line. With Richard Seymour listed as did not play as well Hue better come up with a backup plan quick. Matt Moore will post big numbers if we can’t get a decent pass rush going. Plus he’s quick on his feet, leaving our linebackers with double duty again.

Personally I think they need to run some scramble drills in practice with Pryor under center to help curb the QB scramble issue. Pryor is lightening quick and could prove to be an invaluable crash test dummy for this Raiders defense.

As far as Sunday, we need to just stay mentally focused and keep penalties to a minimum. Our win vs the Bears is testament to what the Raiders can accomplish when they play a clean game, and even though there weren’t many flags those they did get were huge and poorly timed. Play smart ball and we win. Period.

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