Ahoy, Raider fans! It is I, RaiderDamus, the ruler of revelation, the prince of prognostication, the dean of disclosure, the vizier of vision, and the World's Freshest Man. I am back again this week with tidings of great import concerning the outcome of this week's Raiders vs. Browns game. "RaiderDamus!" you say. "What will happen to our beloved team this week? Will they win for Al or will they succumb to their own emotion and let down to an inferior opponent?" You ask me this, and I reply, "Sit back, relax, and I shall reveal to you all that was revealed to me by the Great Beyond." So it is every week. After the jump, the truth will be made known to you all.
This week I have been able to take some time to reflect on the passing of our beloved leader, Mr. Davis. If anyone still doubts my powers of foresight, please see last week's "RaiderDamus Sees The Future" posting concerning the Texans game, which was written last Friday, the day before Mr. Davis passed away. Please notice who is in the photograph attached to the article, and what the caption reads.
So this morning after my cup of coffee as I was "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl" if you will, I was able to quietly consult the Great Aether concerning the fate of the Raiders and that of the Browns. I felt it was an appropriate place and time to look at the team from Cleveland. Here is the information that was gathered.
The bottom line is this: If Colt McCoy has a good game, the Browns will lose by a little, meaning they will cover the spread (which is between 7 and a half and 6 and a half depending on the casino). If Colt McCoy has a poor game, the Browns will lose by double digits. Now, I like Colt McCoy a lot. I thought he was a stud at Texas and I felt he ought to have been a first round draft choice, but Holmgren got a steal in the second round. I can think of another quarterback taken in the second round who was coached to stardom by Mike Holmgren. Colt McCoy does not have the same insane arm strength as that QB (Brett Favre, for those of you who went to public school) but he also does not have the insane insanity. Brett Favre is nuts, was nuts, and will always be nuts. Colt McCoy is just steady. He is good in the two-minute drill like Favre and he is good rolling out of the pocket like Fran Tarkenton. He is not as good as, say, Randall Cunningham, but no white kid ever is. Colt McCoy is exactly what he appears to be- a good quarterback with athletic ability and a medium-to-good arm who can win games that his terrible defense keeps him in. There are precious few of those. He can't take over a game and win it by himself like Montana or Elway did, not yet anyway. He may yet get there.
Colt McCoy is not a one-man team, though. He does have Peyton Hillis. I drafted him in a couple of leagues against my better judgement. I never draft players who are on the cover of Madden. The Madden curse is real. It may be explained by the fact that whomever winds up on the cover of Madden is coming off a career year and most likely a career high workload, making them unlikely to repeat their previous numbers and more susceptible to injury because of wear and tear, but to this I say "bah". There were only two men who were ever on the cover of Madden who did not have something catastrophic happen to them at some point, usually the next year. Those two men were John Madden himself (he is immune to his own curse) and Barry Sanders, who promptly retired rather than face the ramifications of the curse. Peyton Hillis was already hit with strep throat and his wimpy agent told him to take a week off. If this is the worst that happens to Mr. Hillis I will be shocked, and possibly wear sackcloth and ashes and rend my garments while crying out to the heavens for justice.
But assuming Peyton Hillis plays, he will be pretty good. The Raiders defense likes to bend but not break, so Hillis will probably punch in a goal-line score. That's all he will get.
Mohammed Massaquoi is a very good receiver and he will catch one touchdown from McCoy. This may be because Quentin Groves is distracted on the field by the fact that the number 5 on the 50-yard line reads the same whether he is looking at it right side up or upside down. It boggles the mind, truly.
Then there is Josh Cribbs. He may play, and he's real shifty so we had better cover him if he does. He is recovering from a head injury and if he isn't careful the Raiders will give him a brand new one. Best of luck with that, Josh.
Apparently the Browns have someone named Greg Little. This is not a football name. When I try to picture him, Tony Little pops to mind instead, with his flowing blond ponytail doing his exercise machine being very annoying trying to pump up the fatsos watching his infomercial at four in the morning on the CW. I will not believe that Greg Little exists until I see him play. Considering the Browns are never on TV, that may be a while.
The Browns' game plan will be simple. Run the ball at the Raiders' poor rush defense, and try to hit receivers on short slant routes so they can use their speed. The problem here is twofold: (1) the Raiders' rush defense is not as bad as one may think and (2) the Raiders' secondary is vastly more fast than the Browns' receivers. Massaquoi himself was an excellent receiver at Georgia, but was a second round pick because he isn't that fast. However, he can catch and he may be better suited to running curl routes and moving the chains. The Raiders will have to use press-man against him because he has good hands but middling straight-line speed.
The Raiders' game plan will also be simple: Dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and run, run, run. Darren McFadden will have a huge day. He will run all over the Browns, similar to what he did against the Jets. The Browns may look to the Raiders' previous two games for a clue as to how to slow McFadden. The problem there is threefold: (1) Vince Wilfork does not play for the Browns, (2) the Browns will not be able to put up points on the Raiders like the Pats could, forcing the Raiders to throw often, and (3) the Browns' linebackers are not as good as the Texans'. They have nobody as good as DeMeco Ryans, let alone Mario Williams or Brian Cushing. D'Qwell Jackson is good but regardless, McFadden will eat these guys for lunch.
This will set up the play action very well. Jason Campbell may be able to take advantage of the secondary, especially with Joe Haden possibly out. Haden's backup appears to be the cornerback we all wanted in the draft last year, Buster Skrine. He is VERY fast but he is a rookie and will not be able to handle DHB or Schilens in coverage.
The Browns' starting center, Alex Mack, may or may not play. If he does, he will have his hands full with a very angry Richard Seymour. If I were Alex Mack, I would take the day off. Joe Thomas, on the other hand, is a golden god and will be able to handle Shaughnessy or Jarvis Moss if Shaughnessy still cannot go.
That being said, the Raiders are going to sack McCoy at least three times. It will be brutal. It will be violent. It will be sickening. Small children and the elderly should not witness it. It will make Celebrity Deathmatch look like the Antiques Roadshow. The Raiders are going to demolish Cleveland in every facet of the game. Cleveland has the misfortune (as usual) of coming into Oakland during the worst possible week- a raucous, sold out crowd and a team riding an emotional high, wishing to pay respect to their fallen leader by playing lights-out smash mouth football. This is exactly what will happen.
Raiders win, 38-17.