The Raiders finally have a real shot at beating the Patriots this season. The two AFC juggernauts face off in Mexico this year.
Considering the Patriots still have the G.O.A.Ts at quarterback and coach (sarcastic), New England should be the favorite. However, the Raiders have a real shot at beating everyone’s most hated dynasty during this regular season.
Last week, a Fox Sports show went viral by saying that and much more. The video said that the Raiders could be the team to end the Patriots’ dynasty since their dynasty began after the controversial 2001 “Tuck Rule” game.
We all remember the fallout from that game. Jon Gruden went to Tampa Bay and took our playbooks with him. With the exception of that horrible Super Bowl loss that included our center going M.I.A., we struggled to find a franchise quarterback. Our team served 14 years as the laughing stock of the league. Meanwhile, the Patriots ascended to football greatness.
Now, the Raiders have finally built a real foundation for a Super Bowl contender. They actually have a real chance to break the curse and switch the projections of the two organizations.
The Patriots aren’t a slouch this season. Besides Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots will field a wealth of bargain assets that they obtained this offseason. Somehow, the rich got richer. New England added Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen, Stephon Gilmore and Kony Ealy via free agency and trades.
So how can the Raiders end the Patriots dynasty?
Start the Carr
The Raiders will only go as far as Derek Carr takes them. We saw that last season when he went down with a leg injury. We witnessed close games that we lost cause Carr couldn’t bring us back.
Last season, Carr gained some hype in the MVP conversation. Now, he must ascend that by dethroning Tom Brady in the regular season. He’s going to have to go to a neutral site and show his teammates that he is not afraid of the greatness of the Raiders.
Win or lose, Carr must play well and he must not quit. If he wants to be mentioned as one of the greats, it starts by beating one of the greatest teams ever.
Defense Wins Champions
You hear that damn cliche every year but it is true. The Raiders will need their defense to beat the Patriots, let alone win a Championship.
It won’t be easy. The Raiders struggle covering tight ends and the Patriots have two of them. Oakland’s big corners also struggle covering small and agile receivers. New England has a slew of those at receiver and running back.
Luckily, the Raiders have defensive coaches with real experience. Starting from the top, guys like Reggie McKenzie, Jack Del Rio, Ken Norton Jr., and many more have experience playing in the league. They understand what it takes to build a real NFL defense. It is time for them to do that considering they’ve made heavy investments during free agency and the NFL Draft over the past two offseasons.
Do it in the postseason
There will be a lot of hype surrounding the Raiders’ prime time showdown with the Patriots during the regular season. Regardless, the Raiders must do it in the postseason to pose a real threat to the evil empire.
No matter what happens during the regular season, the Raiders will probably face New England in the postseason. To be the best, the Raiders got to beat the best. This is the only way the Raiders can fulfill their Super Bowl dreams.
Hopefully, they can go into New England and reverse the curse. Ideally, Oakland will go in there and reclaim the title as America’s most hated team. This will help Oakland gain the confidence they need to win a title and begin a dynasty. Meanwhile, our friends in Navy and Silver can go back to wherever they were before 1998.
To most the NFL stands for National Football League, but to many others it stands for Not For Long. My oh My, what a difference a few weeks makes in the NFL.
A few weeks ago the Raiders were a young team aspiring for the Playoffs.
There hopes were centered around an explosive, Athletic Quarterback named Terrelle Pryor, a pro-bowl RB named Darren Mcfadden, and a breakout WR named Denarious Moore.
Fast forward a few weeks and the Raiders Playoff hopes are microscopic enough to rival Jamarcus Russell’s comeback hopes.
Not only has QB Terrelle Pryor gotten hurt, but he was superseded and outplayed by an undrafted rookie named Matt McGloin.
McFadden has been hurt all season, and veteran Rashaad Jennings has many people wondering if McFadden’s days in Silver and Black are numbered. Moore has been the same inconsistent and banged up player fans have become accustomed to, but Andre Holmes has stolen much of his spotlight.
As a Raider Fan, it is hard to not see such talented players not succeeding for the Raiders. As fans, every week we tell ourselves this is the week that McFadden, Reece, or Pryor will get it.
While there have been glimpses, this is a league based on results. They haven’t gotten it done, and the team is suffering.
In Contrast, as an organization, the team is happy with the success of McGloin, Jennings, and Holmes.
This is an example of the ‘next man up’ culture of competition that Reggie Mckenzie has wanted to established.
In context, we can apply the old cliche. If you have two than you really don’t have one, and for the Raiders that is the case at WR, RB, and QB. Therefore, the team may be competitive, it may be on the rise, but talent is still lacking. Maybe the team isn’t the last place team ESPN analyst’s initially
thought they were, but they aren’t the Playoff team fans hoped for either.
In a recent interview, Coach Dennis Allen talked about this team being different
than last year’s. Allen said he doesn’t expect this team to quit on the season
or lose commitment. Part of that is probably because much of the team has one year remaining on their contracts, and everyone is playing for contract somewhere.
The truth is, Allen can not afford to have this team quit on him. Allen may have all the potential in the world, but this is a league of results. Just ask McFadden. Owner Marc Davis wants progress andfailing to win a few of the remaining games will result in Allen leading the unemployment line.
If McKenzie wants a culture of accountability it starts at the Head Coach, runs through the Quarterback, Runningback, and Wide Receivers. I just worry, the Raiders might get derailed if they have to replace all four. Regardless, no ones job on this team is safe, and these last four games will determine the faces of the franchise team going forward.
Either way, The Raiders have 70 million in cap room next season. Brighter days are finally on the horizons of this team, but these last four games will determine who is apart of it. If this Raiders team is really different than the last 10 other losing teams, they are certainly running out of time to show it.
Last week, there was some talk about the Raiders interest in Josh Freeman. Initially, I thought why hes a far less dynamic version of Pryor. Then I thought about the last disgruntled quarterback they went after, Carson Palmer, and how that quick fixed failed. I thought about why would you look to a quick fix after Pryor has injected so much hope into the team. Then i heard talks about the Mcfadden injury and I asked myself, why are the Raiders concerned so much with the quarterback when it should be the least of their worries. I hadn’t heard any talk about pursuing offensive line help, a pass rusher, reciever, tight end, running back, or any other position where the Raiders are lacking playmaking ability.
Then Sunday came, and the Raiders showed up underneath the lights. They played a bitter rival, The Chargers, but still seemed more inspired then there opponent. Even with a late rally, the team kept playing hard and managed to pull out a win rather than falter like previous teams. Therefore, I don’t want to talk about who is not in a Raider uniform. I don’t want to talk about the star safety, running back, and left tackle that are absent from the active list. I don’t want to talk about the free agent quarterbacks they might sign or ended up releasing. I don’t even want to talk about the players the roster is lacking at various positions. Rather, I want to talk about the team as it is constructed.
He absolutely balled the last game and all season. If you think it is a coincidence that he recoved a fumble or got an interception than your dead wrong. Woodson has been getting to the ball all season long, so it was only a matter of time until they started creating turnovers. More importantly, you could see his leadership skills to rally a defense that seemed worn out as the Chargers tried to make a comeback.
I’ll admit I was pretty hard on the rookie all game. No means did play perfect, but his interception in the fourth quarter couldn’t have come at a better time. He finally showed some of those playmaking abilities when he broke on the ball and intercepted it. It is promising to see a kid get beat all day and then comeback and make a pick. To be a successful DB in this league, you have to posses that confidence and swagger. I know he missed a lot of training camp, so I hope this is an indication that he will continue to get better as the season goes on.
After a tough game against the Broncos, and talk about Josh Freeman, Pryor was able to come out and ball. In the first half, lacking his dynamic backfield partner, Pryor was able to piece together nice drives. His speed and elusiveness were showcased as he was able to outrun linebackers and dbs to the corner. Even as his offense sputtered in the second half, he held his composure. I think this game really cemeted Pryor as a starting quarterback, because he was able to showcase his physical abilities and leadership qualities. I also seen his ability to throw on the run, and the receivers are beginning to adjust to Pryor’s timing and accuracy. I think as they get in more cohesion, Pryor and his receivers can only get better. Streater caught a nice ball in the first half, and Moore caught a few good passes to keep the drives along.
In closing, Pro Football talk moved this team up to number 18 in the power rankings. As they get healthier and as they continue to get better I can only imagine how far this team will go. If Pryor continues to show improvement week to week, then his team will as well. For the first time in a long time, it seems like the coaches, media, and team are starting to buy into the Raiders Starting Quarterback. Hopefully it means the team will end the playoff drought, but either way it is nice to see the Raiders compete in every game, and have an once of hope that their Quarterback can make a play when its time to.