Things Are Just Starting to Get Interesting...
Captain Jack Rack Levy – Nov 20, 2016
I’m kind of out of my element presently as I write this, as my thoughts and emotions are mixed with euphoria, surprise, apprehension, amazement, derision and wonder. Today, as I again work on this article, it’s a Sunday… another Sunday without Raider football, although we’ll all be earnestly watching the results on tomorrow’s Monday Night Football. Annnnnnd… as of now, we are truly BACK IN FIRST PLACE in the AFC West, as our favorite (Gaaaaagh!!) opponents in Kansas City laid an egg today, losing to the lowly Tampa Bay Sucs!! Bwaaaahaaaahaaaaa!!!
Recently, I was lucky enough to do something I’ve never been able to do in my life – attend three straight Raider games in a row, which is why you haven’t seen any articles from the old Captain. I mean, honestly, when I wasn’t working at my usual employ, I was either driving to/flying to/walking to/from Raider fan events, get togethers, charity functions, the games themselves and the festivities afterwards, to include only my second HOME VICTORY in Oakland witnessed personally at the fantastic Sunday Night destruction of Denver we all reveled in together.
Yes, it’s been a fantastic month for all of Raider Nation since the Silver and Black embarked on their cross-country stay to the Sunshine state with a convincing win (aided by plenty of penalties by the opposition) over the hapless Jaguars; an exciting overtime win (despite plenty – read record number of called penalties by the Raiders) over the faux pirates of the East, the Succaneers; and then on their return trip to Oakland in a battle for the lead of the AFC West in a prime-time Sunday contest in which they disposed quite convincingly of the defending Super Bowl Champions Donkeys.
Wheeeeeeeew!! Excitement at its best, with a reward of a one week bye coming nine weeks into the season and a 7-2 record, good for a tie as the best record in the AFC with the Cheatriots and those dastardly BBQ-brethren in Kansas City, as well as a half-game lead over those same jackasses from the mountains who themselves were on a bye this week.
Ten weeks into this 16 week season of NFL 2016, and honestly folks, things are just now getting interesting. As many possibly heard in my video posted online via social media (with my voice so hoarse with Bronchitis you may have thought I was just being my usual raspy self), I stated it was imperative for the Raiders to get into the bye week with their seven wins… thereby playing on ‘House Money’ for the rest of this year. Seven wins this year equates to all the hard fought victories of 2015, and yet there are seven important games yet to play… probably the most important games the Raiders have seen since a New Year’s Day 2012 contest against the Chargers at home kept the Raiders from their first winning record and playoff appearance since the debacle of Super Blow (SIC) XXXVII.
… and just like the good old days when the Raiders were the darlings of ‘Prime Time NFL football,’ it all starts this Monday Night with a game against division leading Houston in a ‘home game’ at the friendly confines of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Oh, did I forget to mention that just when the Raiders were hitting their groove, the NFL put forward their ‘flying fickle finger of fate’ to our intrepid warriors, who have already endured (and conquered) five Eastern/Central time zone games with a 1PM Eastern time start to egregiously eff with their body clocks (although to be fair, the extra week in Florida for the Tampa game was beneficial in time and humidity acclimation).
So instead of having our requisite nine regular season home games a year (yes, nine, as playing in San Diego as you all know is definitively a home Raider game), our Silver and Black mates get to play a second high-altitude game this year… actually 2000 feet higher than the season ending contest in Mile High in what may be for all the marbles of the AFC West, or at the very least to see which team may be eliminated from the post season.
So Mexico City it is and I’m guaranteeing at least a festive, positive and Raider-friendly crowd will be on hand to see Los Raiders take on the Houston Gringos… or whatever iteration they are presently. And that’s just the first of seven games to end the season…
… and mark my words, as true as any Pirate can tell you without being called a bawdy, braggadocios bastard – the Raiders will need to win at least four of these seven to GUARANTEE a Playoff appearance this year.
Playoffs? PLAAAAAYYYOOFFFFFS?!?!? At least this time when we hear from our old friend Jim Mora via YouTube, we can actually smirk and think we may actually be ahead of schedule for being a force in the NFL, as yours truly thought 2017 was going to be ‘THE YEAR of the Raiders’ Return’ and not 2016, but at least I’m being honest. I knew we COULD make a run for the Playoffs this year, but I wasn’t COUNTING on it.
Actually, let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet, as we’ll be battling the elements in Mexico City along with the Texans, so other than the Raiders having an advantage of coming off the bye rested, with our full complement of injured players slated to return – Stacy McGee, Sean Smith Menelik Watson and Vadal Alexander being primary amongst the recent walking wounded, ALL folks able to practice this week did in fact practice…
… And we’ll need EVERYONE of them to beat the thin air of the stadium, and the hot air of Houston owner Bob McNair, an acknowledged Al Davis and Silver and Black hater, who did the Raiders two favors in 2014 when he passed on the Raiders’ All Pro performers in Khalil Mack (opting instead for oft-injured and production-lacking Jadeveon Clowney) along with our team leader in Derek (don’t you call me David) Carr in round two. Their stupidity is the Raiders’ gain (with an assist for the Jacksonville Jaguars in taking Blake Bortles and guaranteeing Mack or Watkins would fall into the Raiders’ laps… thanks to you as well Buffalo for taking Sammy Watkins!!!)
So after what hopefully will be a convincing victory against Houston, the Raiders next get NFC Champion Carolina at home the following Sunday. The Panthers have fared better the past few weeks but in reality have been anything but playing comparable to their prolific and powerful performances from last year… and may have lost the heart and soul of their team in LB Luke Kuechly to a concussion (we’ll see obviously). The game needs to be played of course in reality, but depending on Monday’s results could be the game giving the Raiders the victory needed for a confirmed “Winning Season.” However, to be conservative, let’s say we win one of these games… welcome to eight wins.
December comes, and it’s the Bills at home… yes, they’ll be a tougher team to beat than most give them credit for presently, but I can be pretty confident we can beat the Bills… OR the Colts, who end December at home in a Christmas Eve game. For arguments sake, let’s say we’ll win at least one game here, and we’re looking at nine wins.
Now it REALLY comes down to the rest of our AFC West schedule… all AWAY from Oakland as we are ‘Color Rushed in Kansas City’ on a short week Thursday night affair on December 8th; we head to San Diego for our ‘other home game’ on the 18th… THIS TIME we get the advantage of having extended rest against the Garglers who should be on their way out of the Playoff equation by this time (que David Spade… Buh-bye!!) And last but not least, it’s off to celebrate the New Year of 2017 in Pile High of Donkey Manure at Sports Authority Field.
As I stated earlier, if it hasn’t happened already, we’ll need to win at least two of these three games to ensure a Playoff berth (and possible first round bye) with eleven wins. Ten wins makes this an iffy proposition, but since we’re already sitting at seven wins and playing with the ‘House Money’ alluded to earlier, I’m going to say considerations of this being a Playoff year are looking better by the minute. And if/when Aldon Smith becomes available… and/or Mario Edwards Jr. is able to contribute – of course after both are in football shape AND blessed to come out and play – wouldn’t you say the Raiders are a threat to go pretty far in the Playoffs… PLAAAAAAYOFFFFFS!!!
First things first… WE NEED TO BEAT HOUSTON… We’ll NEED TO BEAT INDY or BUFFALO… and We’ll NEED TO WIN TWO OF THREE against our AFC West Brethren. Get those things done, and yours truly will be looking for a ticket to a home Playoff game in Oakland in January. I hope someone here amongst our readership will be accommodating… as I’ve never been to a Playoff game, let alone a HOME Playoff game… and it’s something I’d love to say I’ve done before I meet ol’ Davey Jones for the next, final watch.
My best to you Raider Nation as we await the Monday Night game… rest well, and to all those braving the thin air of the Mexican capital whilst dining on some awesome Mexican cuisine, hoist some cerveza, tequila or a preferential libation to the sky… VIVA LOS RAIDERS!! Let’s stay the course on this cruise to the postseason… and sometime in the future, we’ll talk about that sticky ‘But Where Are They Going to Play Beyond This Year’ subject… Yeah, let’s have some positives here first, and congratulations to Doctor Death on his SI Cover… let’s pray for some positives. Buenos Noches Mi Familia… YAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!
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