Raiders Hoping For Losses By Division Foes
By Ryan Leong
With the bye week upon them, the Raiders will be scoreboard watching, hoping the other three division foes lose their games.
So far, the Silver and Black are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs at 1-3 for last place in the AFC West. KC hosts the 3-1 Baltimore Ravens who haven’t played since beating Cleveland, a week ago last Thursday. That win finished four games in 18 days for the Ravens.
Baltimore at home has been a great team, averaging 32.7 points and 457 yards.
However, the Ravens only loss took place on the road when they tallied a season low 325 yards and had two turnovers in a 24-23 loss at Philadelphia.
And although Baltimore got some much needed rest, three of its next four games are on the road.
Arrowhead Stadium is one of the loudest venues in the NFL but given the Chiefs poor record, their fans haven’t had much to cheer for. And the last time the Ravens played in KC, they beat the Chiefs 30-7 in a 2010 Wild Card playoff game.
This season, the fans haven’t been cheering but booing. And those boos are directed at quarterback Matt Cassel who has already thrown seven interceptions and fumbled the ball three times. He has 10 of the team’s 15 turnovers. The Chiefs have lost six of their last seven at home and have been outscored 77-44 in their two home games.
The other two division rivals will be wrapped up in a couple of marquee match ups. The surprising Chargers at 3-1 take on the winless 0-4 New Orleans Saints who are the featured Sunday night game.
That is more of a shock given the talented roster on the Saints, starting with quarterback Drew Brees. The two time NFC MVP is closing in on a milestone. If he throws a touchdown pass, it will be the 48th consecutive game he has thrown a TD, passing the record of 47 he holds with the legendary Johnny Unitas. Of course some give the nod to Unitas that his record means more given that he played his career in a 14-game schedule.
Because of the “Bountygate” scandal, Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for the entire season and banned from attending games at the Superdome. But the league is allowing him to attend this game as an exception with the request coming from Brees himself.
The last time Brees had a game without a touchdown pass was October 4, 2009 against the New York Jets. The Chargers have allowed a touchdown in each of their last seven games so its almost a sure bet that Brees will indeed put his name in the record books.
And the Saints have lost all their games by single digits, the last two by a combined total of four points. You can bet Raider fans are rooting for Brees to throw three, maybe four touchdowns.
It’s odd to think the Raiders could be rooting on the Patriots given the infamous tuck rule game in 2001 that literally put Tom Brady’s career on the fast track to stardom. But a Pats win over the Broncos would drop Denver to 2-3.
Peyton Manning has finally begun to show signs of him being the Peyton of old by going 30-of-38, passing for 338 yards and three touchdowns in beating the Raiders 37-6 last week at home.
In the AFC divisional playoffs last year, Brady schooled Tim Tebow who was the QB for Denver. Brady threw for 363 yards and matched a career high with six touchdowns. Tebow struggled going 9-of-26 for 136 yards. That game sealed the fate of Tebow who was traded away by Broncos president John Elway who made a big splash by signing Manning to a big free agent contract.
Brady has beaten Manning in eight of the last 12 games overall.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.