Raiders are Back

The Raiders are Back according to coach Del Rio.  “The Raiders are back,” he told the locker room minutes after The Silver and Black’s loss to the Houston Texans at the NRG stadium in their first playoff game since 2002, “just not back where we want to be just yet.”

He went on to praise the team for their 12 wins in the regular season and on the sacrifices they’d all made.  “Your can hold your heads high,” he told the players.

Given what the team have achieved on the field this season, and the progress the team is making off the field toward a move to Las Vegas, there’s few fans who would disagree, The Raiders are well and truly back.  At the start of the season, we’d have all taken a first playoff-game in 14 years.

Vocalising what many believe and all of us hope, Del Rio announced that the future of the franchise is bright. “We are heading where we need to be heading,” he said urging the group to stick together, “This is just the beginning. We are not ready to stop”.

Raiders need to get away

Raiders need to get awayThe Raiders recently used the NFL international series game in Mexico as one of their ‘home’ games for the year, sacrificing the supposed home field advantage they experience back in Oakland. They came out victorious in that encounter, beating the Texans.

Now think about the team’s perfect 5-0 record in road games and you’re looking at a Raiders team that travels well and plays well away from home. Why is this significant?

The Raiders games played at Alameda Coliseum lack the same kind of home field advantage that other teams have.

Divisional rivals Broncos and Chiefs both have stadiums that sell out every week and opposing teams never seem to perform quite at their peak because of this, which often sees the Chiefs/Broncos only lose one or two games at home each year.  That doesn’t happen with Raiders games in Oakland.

By moving to Las Vegas there is no doubt that the team would experience the same kind of home field advantage of the top teams based on the excitement and interest from fans for the potential move. This year if the Raiders lose all their remaining road games they will go 5-3, and if you combined that with a 7-1 or even 6-2 home record you would see either an 11 or 12-win team, easily good enough to win the division and possibly book that all important first round bye.

Now the Raiders are starting to win, some people are getting nervous that a move will turn them back into a losing team. But looking at the stats, the opposite is true.  The potential upside of a move to Vegas could well mean the Raiders becoming a league powerhouse for years to come.

Amen to that.

Raiders move to Mexico

mexico-raidersThe Raiders temporarily moved to Mexico, as part of the NFL’s “globalisation” plans, for their week 11 game against the Houston Texans.  Guess nobody told the NFL about the anti-globalisation movement just yet.  Anyway, the trip to Estadio Azteca went relatively smoothly; the American anthem wasn’t booed, free trade seemed to take place and no walls got built.

At 7-2 on the year, the Oakland Raiders were sitting pretty in second place in the AFC West with their eyes set on a first round bye and a home playoff game. By playing on Monday night it gave them a chance to see how their rivals were doing, and spirits were high after the division rivals Kansas City Chiefs lost narrowly and so dropping to 7-3.

The Raiders took their chance and beat the Houston Texans 27-20 in Mexico City, moving to 8-2 and romping to the top of their conference.  Thanks, in part, once again, to Del Rio gambling on a 4th and short in the dying minutes of the game.

The Aztec Stadium is at 7,380 feet, which is about 2,000 feet above the Broncos Mile High venue.  And the smog levels in Mexico City are described by everyone as horrendous.  Thus we can calculate The Raiders are simply harder than their opponents when the going gets tough.

Just Win Baby!


Atlanta Falcons at The Raiders Score

falcons-raidersThe Atlanta Falcons at The Raiders score ended 35-28 in favour of the away team, denying the future Vegas Raiders a 2-0 start to the season.
In another exciting game for neutral fans, both offenses ruled the day which might be surprising for two teams both headed by former defensive Coaches.

It was probably the Raider’s inability to stop the Falcons moving the chains that lead to the loss. That, and the Raider’s old problem against Tight Ends and a bit of plain bad luck.

For the majority of the game, both sides traded scores. Del Rio played his part with two successful challenges; one for the Falcons D having 12 men on the field and one for a poor spot of the ball. Both challenges resulted in the Raiders securing previously-lost first downs.

At 14-21, the coach also made another ballsey call. He let the O go for it on 4th and 1, resulting in Carr finding Crabtree on a slant to tie the scores at 21-all. This team is obviously going to go for it, no matter what.

Then the bad luck happened. Ryan marched his team down the field but looked to have failed in the red zone when hi pass hit the intended receiver on the shoulder. But as luck would have it the ricochet fell to another Falcons player who had a free walk into the end zone, putting the scores at 28-21.

Back came the raiders and it looked like they’d tied the game again with a sizzling catch and run from Cooper. Unfortunately, though, he’d stepped out of bounds and then touched the ball first, so the score was wiped off and the ball marched back down the field. To rub salt into the wounds, the next drive saw Coleman break out for a 30y run and TD to make it 35-21.

The Raiders didn’t give up, though. Holmes made a smart adjustment in the end zone to latch onto Derek Carr’s third TD of the day to bring it to 35-28. The Falcons were unusually made to punt and back came the Raiders in search of another last-minute victory. But time just wasn’t on their side. The skill team had a throw around at the end, but to no avail. The Falcons ran out 35-28 winners to put both teams on 1-1.

Summary: The Raiders’ D really needs to show up from now on, having allowed 500y in the first two weeks of the season.