A game like the one last Sunday against the Dolphins would cause any fan to start second guessing their team. It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a fan, it just means you expected a different result and are having a hard time figuring out what went wrong. What if I told you that loss wasn’t far off the beaten path?
It’s very easy to get caught up in the “now” when evaluating a team. Even though the season seems very short, for most teams there are many high and low points along the way. In the end it’s how you finish that really matters. Most tend to look at schedules and mentally fill in wins and losses as if they are almost a sure thing, but one phrase will always remain true in the NFL, “Any Given Sunday.”
The Raiders have been a tough team to gauge this season and depending on what week I ask you, your answer would probably vary. However, one thing that is hard to argue is that this team is very dangerous. Most teams would tell you that they don’t look forward to playing the Raiders for the pure fact that they are a team with an endless amount of weapons and when they are firing on all cylinders the only ones who can stop them is them.
The loss to Miami put the Raiders season into perspective for a lot of people. The high of three straight wins is quickly wiped away by the sobering 34-14 defeat against a team most expected to beat. Keep in mind though that losses like that brings the team back down to earth as well. They are no longer coasting to the finish. The season now hangs in the balance and there is no room for a let down. Sometimes a bad loss is just what the doctor ordered to force a team to refocus for the final stretch of a season. It’s up to the coaches and players now to accept the challenge put in front of them and lay it on the line come Sunday.
Whether the Raiders have what it takes to knock off the Packers is yet to be seen, but don’t count them out. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best and Oakland gets that chance Sunday. The rest is just football, but I encourage you to ask yourself this question: In a season where the Raiders had three top free agents walk, lost their legendary owner, traded for their franchise quarterback mid-season, often played without their four best offensive players, won games they shouldn’t and lost games they shouldn’t, would a win against the Packers on Sunday really be that surprising?