While We're All In A Good Mood...

Captain Jack Rack Levy – Dec 1, 2016

A little over 96hours ago, I and a few members of the Orlando Raider Nation who’ve I’ve been friends with for years were basking in the glory of a hard-fought win… a true “Gut Check” Victory which were the norm of the great Raiders’ teams of the 70’s I had the pleasure of sharing my formative years of my childhood.  Back then, Sunday afternoons were NBC 4PM Eastern games with Curt Gowdy providing the sounds in his gravelly, booming voice, discussing the exploits of a Lamonica or Stabler first down pass to Biletnikoff, or a crunching hit by members of the ‘Soul Patrol’ Jack Tatum or George Atkinson against an unsuspecting receiver crossing the middle (my fondest memories being a Steeler like Lynn Swann getting crunched!!)

Yeah, those were the ‘good ol’ days’ of Raiders’ football when the Silver and Black won decisively, bringing their will and might and vanquishing their foes as they perennially made the Playoffs…

After that, it was dependent on whom they drew in the second season as to how far they’d go.  They’d meet Shula’s Dolphins or Noll’s Steelers, so honestly if it wasn’t for those teams we’d have twice as many Lombardi’s as we do now I’m sure.  Still, knowing that we beat those ‘Undefeated Dolphins’ the first opportunity we were given was satisfying… and if it wasn’t for that horrendous ‘Immaculate Deception’ call in Pittsburgh, those Florida fish-mammals would’ve been beaten by the Raiders the following week and the only champagne Shula, Morris, Czonka, Griese and the rest would be drinking regularly would come on New Year’s Eve or birthdays!!  (I’d name some of their defensive players, but gosh darn it I don’t know their names!!  If you don’t understand my last jibe… never mind… you’re too young…)

Excuse me for going down Memory Lane for a little while… but it’s only because I believe your current roster of young, go-getting members of the Silver and Black, brought to you by Reggie McKenzie and his scouting department… along with the accountants who work those cost effective free agent deals, can indeed be as special and consistent Playoff members much like Captain Jack’s 1970’s Raiders.  Yes, they can be THAT GOOD… the offense has been dynamic, even unstoppable at times but consistent in putting up points for the most part this season (aside from a woeful game against the Chiefs, but we’ll get back to that in a bit). 

The defense, which started out being gashed for a record-number of yards their first two games against the Saints and Falcons have coalesced into ‘Bend But Don’t Break’ Bad-asses who do what is needed at the end of each game to ‘Just Win Baby’!!  Did you know they’ve actually been a Top Ten Defense statistically for the last six games?  Yeah, I know that’s hard to fathom, but you can look it up.  And just think how good they could’ve been had Mario Edwards Jr. and Aldon Smith had been playing all year, instead of just being possible late year participants to the party… if Roger Goodell ever gets off his ass and grants Smith permission to rejoin the team… AND if MEJ can properly heal from his debilitating hip injury which has sidelined him all year long.  ((Sigh))

After the fantastic victory over Carolina the past Sunday, the next two, possibly three games will go a long way into deciding IF the Raiders will make the Playoffs… IF they do indeed make them, will it be as a Wild Card team or as the AFC West Champs…or IF it’ll just be great to have a winning season after 13years of ineptitude but just miss out on the second season by thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much (holding thumb and index finger mere millimeters apart). 

Let’s get to it, shall we?  Buffalo will NOT be a cake-walk victory by any stretch of the imagination, as they still hold out hope for a Playoff berth themselves, along with the added inspiration of ‘playing for their coach’ in Rex Ryan so he won’t be fired after this year… 

Hmmmmm… yeah, about that ‘Rex Ryan / Let’s play for the Coach’ thing: I can’t attest to that actually happening… would YOU want to play for a coach that has a foot fetish?  Puts nail polish on his OWN toes?  Has a tattoo of Mark Sanchez on his body?  Maybe they still want to make the Playoffs because it’s the PROFESSIONAL thing to do.  Let’s just think that, ok?  It’s probably true, and Buffalo is much better than the team we beat the last time they visited the Coliseum and ended their Playoff hopes – they have a tough defense, possess a fantastic and elusive running back in Shady McCoy, and Tyrod Taylor is a hell of a lot better than the last iteration of Quarterback we saw last in Kyle Orton. 

Fortunately, Bills’ speedster wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been limited in practice (and hopefully limited come game time as well) while we should hopefully be getting David Amerson back to play, which is fortunate as the Raiders’ defensive backfield is again shorter in abled bodies with the injury last week to D.J. Hayden (Note: Please stifle your laughter… he hasn’t sucked entirely this season and occasionally has made a play or two). 

Next:  a Thursday Night ‘Color Rush’ affair with the Chiefs at Narrowhead. 

Beating the Bills would be a boon to the Raiders’ Playoff hopes.  BEATING THE CHIEFS IS ALL BUT NECESSARY TO ENSURE A PLAYOFF BERTH… especially if the Raiders hope to actually win the Division and not just garner a Wide Card slot.  Say it with me Raider Nation… LOSING IS NOT AN OPTION!

The 2016 Raiders are undefeated in games played away from their Oakland home turf.  Let’s ring the tally: Nawlins, Nashville, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Tampa, and their ‘not so home game’ in the rarified air of Mexico City.  The NFL saw to it the Silver and Black would play the latter portion of the Divisional games all away the last month of the season, so it’s up to the Raiders to continue to play their best ball in unfriendly, hostile environments.  Although this is a pain, it’s actually a blessing, since IF they don’t win the AFC West outright, they’ll need to play some Playoff football as visitors in hostile environs. 

Kansas City, San Diego and Denver all will have a Playoff atmosphere anyway, and it is incumbent on the Raiders to show the naysayers who still don’t think Oakland has the mettle to be a true threat to New England to represent the AFC.  I’ve heard it from Tony Dungy, Booger McFarland and Al Michaels – all HATERS and looking for the opportunity to cackle in delight with the ‘I Told You So!!’ mantra.  Also, KC is the one defense which Derek Carr hasn’t quite figured out as he is 1-4 all-time against the Chiefs.  Carr won his initial time he played them, garnering Oakland’s first victory of the 2014 season in a wet Thursday night affair yours truly saw personally… my first “W” witnessed at the Coliseum.  Maybe playing the game on a Thursday night is a good omen – we can only hope…    

Kansas City has been pulling out games they should have lost – @ Carolina and @ Denver come to mind – and were beaten pretty soundly at home when the Bucs came into town and thrashed them.  They ARE beatable… and the Raiders will need to once again dig down DEEP and pull out all the stops in the fourth quarter or overtime like they did @Nawlins… @Baltimore… @Tampa… VS San Diego… VS Houston… and VS Carolina… and win in the end by any means necessary.  60 minutes (sometimes more) of winning football; beating the Chiefs will go a long way to ensuring an AFC West Division Championship... 

… Especially if the Atlanta Falcons can do us a solid and beat KC this weekend in the Georgia Dome, much like the anticipated Alabama Crimson Tide’s destruction of my Florida Gators less than 24 hours earlier in the same stadium. 

Fortunately for the Raiders, no matter what the outcome of the game in Kansas City, they’ll have 10days of rest to take the short flight down south to their defacto home game in San Diego, which is AT WORST a 55%/45% Charger : Raider fan ratio, and usually the other way around if not more.  The Chargers will again want nothing more than to ruin Oakland’s Playoff hopes, but when all is said and done – barring unforeseen additional key injuries – I anticipate another close, hard fought game ending in a Raiders’ win.  Besides, it’s always fun to watch the YouTube video of the teen Gargler fan crying his eyes out in his downstairs basement / rumpus room as the Raiders emerge victorious. 

(If you haven’t seen the video, google it!  I assure you it’s worth your time.  I’d put the link here, but don’t want to jinx it… I’m sure you understand). 

But to paraphrase an old saying, even the longest trip you’d ever envision still begins with that first step…

… So let’s go out and beat the Bills.  Rex’s toenail polish can be sent to him via airmail delivery… but please, NOT from the stands, ok Raider Nation?


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