Posts about Oakland Raiders

2014 NFL season preview: AFC West

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One of the most interesting divisions in the NFL. The AFC West has always been intriguing because of whatever the Raiders and Chargers are doing, but with the addition of Peyton Manning and a Chiefs resurgence, this is a division that will not lack headlines. Obviously, things revolve around the Broncos and their quest to return to the Super Bowl. But what about the Chiefs? They’ve been getting LOTS of attention for a specific reason but we’ll get to them eventually. The Chargers always being the dark horse and whatever nonsense the Raiders are up to.

Denver Broncos: After their blowout loss in the Super Bowl, how does Denver respond this season. People are penciling them in for at least 11 or 12 wins but is it going to be that easy? Other teams will be trying to emulate the Seahawks’ game plan from the Super Bowl when they’re up against the Broncos this season. Peyton Manning is a year older and as we know with pro athletes that are in an advanced age, when it’s starts to go, it goes very fast. But Denver did well in their offseason on defense, signing Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and TJ Ward. All players should help them immensely, especially with Manning losing Eric Decker and transitioning to Emmanuel Sanders in that same role. The offense won’t break records this season but they’ll do damage. Denver regresses, just a bit, but still wins the division.

Kansas City Chiefs: This is, without a doubt, one of the most talked about teams prior to the start of the season. Why? They have the word “regression” written all over them. Pick your topic: over achievers last season, a really tough schedule, key losses on defense and no additions on offense. Let’s just add the fact that they suffered a really bad playoff defeat to the Colts last season. Also, no one respects Alex Smith as he can’t shed the label of “game manager” unless he has some sort of other-worldly season. Are people doubting this team a little too much? One of my good friends is a Chiefs fan and he said “The Chiefs won’t do as well as last season but they won’t be as bad as everyone thinks they’ll be.” I just look at their schedule and wonder how they’re going to be more than 7 or 8 wins this season.

San Diego Chargers: Could this finally be the Chargers year? They made the playoffs last season by finishing their season on a winning streak and with the help of some other teams losing. But can the momentum continue? Their potent offense carried the way but can Phillip Rivers and his weapons be as effective? Some point to their lack of weapons. I’m in the camp that doesn’t think they’ll need to score that many points to win games this season. They addressed their defensive woes in the offseason through the draft and free agency signings. Their schedule starts off and finishes pretty tough, but it they can take care of business against the easier teams, I can see San Diego doing well and challenging not only for a spot in the playoffs, but also challenging Denver for the division title.

Oakland Raiders: What is this team doing? They’ve added some nice young players to build for the future but with head coach Dennis Allen still there, I can’t see the team doing anything but staying in the same spot. Does Matt Schaub have anything left after leaving Houston in the worst possible way? Will he break his own “pick-6” record with a Raiders helmet on? Can Darren McFadden stay healthy after signing another contract with Oakland? The Raiders acquired Maurice Jones-Drew to help with the ball carries but who knows how much he has left in the tank. Both the head coach and GM seem to be “hot seat” candidates and all signs point to them not being with the franchise next season. At best, I can see this as a .500 team but nowhere near contention for division or the playoffs.

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Leftovers from Thanksgiving Day’s slate of NFL games

Oakland Raiders v Dallas Cowboys

It’s always a good day when we can enjoy lots of Thanksgiving food (whatever time every person does it) while having football on the TV for the entire time. I don’t know if we hit the 12 hour mark last night but football fans were pretty close to have 12 straight hours of football. Minus the hour or so of pre-game and halftime shows. The day started off with the Lions and Packers, an NFC North rivalry that goes back a long time but just doesn’t have the same impact without Aaron Rodgers. Back up Matt Flynn was over matched the entire game, sacked 7 times while only throwing 139 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Credit to the Lions defense as well because they had as big of an impact on this game as some of the best defenses in the league. On offense everything was clicking with Detroit, from top to bottom. Matt Stafford had a couple of turnovers to begin the game (one going back for a score) but towards the end of the second quarter, everything was smooth sailing for the Lions. Megatron was Megatron and their combo running game of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell really brought the offense to another level, much more balanced. Not that anyone felt different but every week confirms that Aaron Rodgers means more to the Packers success than probably any other team in the league. Right now it’s uncertain if he’ll return next week. Now the Lions are back in the driver’s seat for the division as they await this Sunday’s results.

Our second helping of the day featured an odd game between the Cowboys and Raiders. It’s odd because on the very first play of the game the Raiders caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. So we’re 12 seconds into the game and the Raiders are up by a touchdown. Things continued to favor the Raiders for rest of the half, doing all the right things on offense. Sure, the Cowboys defense is among the worst of the league but it’s not like the Raiders offense had been lighting it up. At halftime the teams completely switched and the Cowboys nearly dominated the second half from start to finish. The Raiders made things interesting late in the game by getting within one score but without any of their timeouts, it was difficult for Oakland to get the plays they needed. DeMarco Murray led the way in terms of stats (3 rush TDs) but it was a combination of different players on the Cowboys offense that engineered their drives. The Raiders on the other hand didn’t do well against the Cowboys halftime adjustments, showing little signs of what they had done in the first half. Another bad season for the Raiders as they look at making changes and the coming draft. The Cowboys, like the Lions, take hold of the division lead as they await results. Quick shout out to Selena Gomez for looking good during the halftime show.

Things wrapped up in Baltimore with the heated rival Pittsburgh Steelers in town. Normally this is a must watch for any football fan but this season the teams aren’t doing as well as we’re used to. Did they still provide from of the same hard-hitting entertainment? There were some big hits to go with a few scuffles but there were also a lot of odd occurrences. The game came down to an unsuccessful two-point conversion but from the botched field goal to Mike Tomlin’s on the field interference, it was a weird game. But a win is a win and for Baltimore, it keeps them alive in the heated race for the second wild card spot in the conference. All the white keeping the pressure on the Bengals, who are in San Diego this weekend, for the division lead. It was maddening to watch how long it took Pittsburgh to get some offense going, not being able to find the scoreboard until halfway through the 3rd quarter. An offense that looked so good the past couple of weeks sputtered out of the gate and played catch up the entire game. It’s not the type of game that the Steelers want to play when they’re fighting to stay alive for a spot in the postseason. On a side note, the league is looking into Tomlin’s interference on that kick return.

Anyone else riding the Buccaneers (-8) in Carolina this weekend? The Panthers are on a big streak right now but it’s not a streak where they blow teams out as of late. This is a completely different Bucs team from the one the Panthers beat handily about a month ago. The Bucs are playing solid football and I see them keeping it close in Carolina on Sunday.

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Broncos dominate Raiders; lingering news from week 3

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Most people didn’t expect last night’s game to be competitive. The Raiders were going into the game with lots of questions, their only win coming against a Jaguars team that most people consider the worst in the entire league. The Broncos on the other hand have looked like the AFC favorite and continued to do so last night as they dominated the game from start to finish. Aside from a somewhat fluke fumble, Peyton Manning continued his ridiculous pace (32-37, 374 yds, 3 TDs) to start the season, reading the Raiders offense perfectly and executing just as well. Watching the Broncos on offense makes me wonder if any team out there is capable of slowing them down enough to keep the game within reach. Of course when you’re up against the Raiders, most NFL teams will look better than they probably are. The Broncos pressured Terrell Pryor and limited Darren McFadden to only 9 yards on 14 carries. If that doesn’t say “swarming defense” then I don’t know what does. But, that swarming style did come back to Broncos on a trick play by the Raiders. I can’t being to describe how much I love trick plays in the NFL and this halfback pass by McFadden at the end of the 3rd quarter was no exception. I loved everything about the play. They’re really rare but I hope to see a few more around the league in the coming weeks. That was one of the few highlights that the Raiders were able to hang their hats on so it wasn’t a complete catastrophe. Hey, they could have lost in a Giants-like manner.

Last night’s game ended a week in the NFL that had some quality football but what’s also been going around the league is what seems to an abundance of off the field headlines. There’s 49ers’ lineback Aldon Smith checking himself into rehab after a DUI arresting just a few days ago, still playing in the game against the Colts by the way. Many questioned the Niners decision to do so, thinking it was best for Smith not play, this being his second time with a DUI arrest. Smith has since apologized to the team and staff so we wish him the best. Injury news includes Anthony Spencer of the Cowboys, Charles Tillman of the Bears, different offensive linemen on the Giants, Nate Burleson of the Lions and various others. All are in different situations but as we all know, the more an NFL season goes on, the more the injury report begins to take form. On a more obscure injury report, Ravens WR Jacoby Jones (currently rehabbing a knee injury) apparently had a stripper break a champagne bottle over his head. Not a strip club but a party bus. I’m guessing he didn’t give her enough of a tip for her services.

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Raiders Player Desmond Bryant Up For 2013 Mugshot of the Year

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We’re a little late on this one, but have to get this bad-boy into our archives since it’s a mugshot for the ages. Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, who’s coincidentally entering the unrestricted free agent marketing a few weeks, attended Harvard on an academic scholarship after scoring a 1230 on his SAT & holding up a 4.2 GPA in high school, so who the hell says Ivy leaguers can’t party?!

The poor guy was arrested on Sunday in Miami and charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief. With NFL players killing girlfriends & committing suicide, getting arrested for drinking too much is seriously a minor infraction. Let’s just hope Desmond gets some professional help before he ends up hurting himself or somebody else.

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Broncos take care of Raiders; preparing for week 14

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Most people were preparing last night’s game to be a blowout and that is pretty much what happened. From the first quarter, it was all Denver and even when it looked like the Raiders were going to make some sort of comeback it was stalled. The past few weeks Peyton Manning carried the offense but this week RB Knowshon Moreno contributed a solid running performance as the Broncos cruised to a 26-13 victory over the Raiders. It wasn’t a memorable performance by Manning but it did have a significance as he completed his 5,000th pass in his NFL career. Quite the milestone, second all-time but it’s going to be tough to catch Favre’s record of 6,300 completions. As for the Raiders, well they kept the game close for a few minutes after a touchdown catch by RB McFadden but every time they had some sort of momentum there was a costly penalty of turnover.

Best/worst games of this weekend: I’m going to leave out the obvious choice of the mammoth Monday night game. I’m looking at the Bears-Vikings game closely as Chicago is in a bit of a rut and Minnesota is a team desperately trying to save their playoff hopes alive. It’s a similar scenario in the Ravens-Redskins game plus, I would like to see how RG3 does against that defense. I’d also keep a close eye on Saints-Giants and Lions-Packers, both with shootout potential. Game to avoid all costs: initially it was clearly Chiefs at Browns but I feel that those two teams will give it some heart. So we’re going with the Jets visiting the Jaguars as the game to avoid at all costs.

Quick NBA tangent: Alright Moe, your Knicks are a top 5 team in the NBA right now. The way the 3s are falling for New York, they’re practically unbeatable and they looked the part last night as they routed the Heat in Miami. Consequently, Bryan’s Lakers are still in a tailspin out west but only time will tell if they can get it together because the Thunder and Grizzlies look like the absolute class of the western conference.

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