Banner Day in Raider Nation

By MikeBullock  |   Tuesday, December 07, 2010  |  Comments( 1 )

Oakland Raiders
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When you have a 24-hour period involving the Raiders sweeping one division rival and watching as another fires their coach while spiraling out of control, it’s a good day indeed; especially when the spiraling is coming from Mile High.

To make it even better, Oakland is a combined 4-0 against their AFC West rivals right now for the first time in recent memory and have a legitimate shot at winning the division. They’re currently a half game out of first place with a very manageable schedule ahead of them.

Next week, the Silver & Black travel to Florida to take on the 7-5 Jacksonville Jaguars, who are currently atop the AFC South. The Jaguars are currently secondin the league in rushing yards per game, but middle of the road in most of the other major team stat categories. If Oakland can shut down Maurice Jones-Drew, they should have an easy time taking the Jags to 7-6. Granted, it’s hard to tell week to week if Oakland will shut down a running back or give him a career day…

After Jacksonville, the Denver Broncos come to town with their new interim coach, Eric Studesville who has been the team’s running back coach to this point in the season. The fact Denver owner Pat Bowlen fired former head coach Josh McDaniel before he even had a replacement ready to take over might just be a glimpse into the depths of disarray in Denver. A wounded Bronco team coming to town probably has Al Davis salivating in his denture cream, so expect Oakland to win and win big.

Next up comes the walking wounded without a running game, the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning, widely considered one of the two best quarterbacks in the league has endured pressure recently he’s most likely never seen before. The Colts have no ground game to speak of and Peyton has responded to that by tossing 11 passes to members of the opposition over the last three weeks. Expect more of the same when he faces Oakland’s suddenly opportunistic defense.

Finally, in what might just be the contest that decides the division, Oakland travels to Arrowhead stadium to a game the schedule makers probably thought nothing of last spring. The Chiefs, sporting an all-star coaching cast, have quietly overachieved for much of the year. They’re currently averaging first in the league on the ground, and sixth in total yards gained. However, the Raiders managed to take them down last month and might just have more of the same for them come January.

Right now, it sure looks like things are going Oakland’s way for the first time in years. Losing Gradkowski for the season seems to have been a blessing in disguise, as was the injuries to the receiving corps that allowed former Clemson star Jacoby Ford to shine. Right now, with a little luck and a lot of heart, Oakland could be staring at a 10-6 record. Or, they could finish up 6-10, which is still an improvement over recent years. Either way, this season has gone the right way for the Silver & Black, no matter what the last four games hold.

For the moment, however, Raider fans can bask in the joy of sweeping the Chargers and rubber-necking at the train wreck in Denver.
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