Ahoy, Raider fans! It is I, RaiderDamus, the excellence of execution, the truth, the answer, the oracle, and the World's Freshest Man. Today I come to you with not only a season review of the Raiders and RaiderDamus' predictive skills, but also with news of the future. The Great Beyond has informed me of the Raiders' fate this Sunday. According to custom, I shall reveal to you what was revealed to me.
First I wish to review the Raiders' performance. I think they've done quite well, considering their defense is dreadful, their owner died, their quarterback got severely injured, and their star runningback pulled a Yao Ming. At 8-7, the Raiders have a good shot at the playoffs. I don't believe they have a shot at the Super Bowl, but a playoff appearance would have everyone feel pretty good about the state of the franchise no matter what takes place within it.
RaiderDamus, on the other hand, is 9-6. I have actually outperformed the Raiders this year. However, as my task requires no actual physical prowess it is not terribly impressive compared to what the Raiders do, but every week i put my reputation on the line in a public forum and have mostly good results. As for my losses, here are the facts.
Four times I predicted the Raiders to win, and they lost- Bills, Chiefs, Broncos and Dolphins. The Raiders really ought to have won the Bills and Broncos games, and frankly ought to have beaten the Lions as well, which would make them 11-4 right now and would make me 10-5. The defense gave up substantial second half leads in all three of those games. That's Dallas Cowboy level chokery, folks. Rob Ryan and Chuck Bresnahan should be on a desert island somewhere together, drawing up fail defenses in the sand with pointed sticks, having a contest to see whose prevent defense can prevent less.
There have been times in which I have been questioned, quarreled with, even lambasted for my predictions. The Patriots game and the Green Bay game come instantly to mind. I predicted the Patriots would defeat the Raiders. I was called several names and even accused of being a Patriots fan. In that game I actually overestimated the Raiders, as they were soundly defeated.
In the Green Bay game I predicted the Raiders would lose, 45-17. I was not attacked as viciously, but many of you felt the Raiders would win. Such a thought! the very idea was laughable. Final score, 46-16. Chalk one up for the World's Freshest Man, indeed. Now, RaiderDamus is not above reproach, but that does not mean you are not a fickle, homerish, and querulous flock of sheep.
But that is in the past, and on we go to current events. This week the Raiders take on the Chargers, and are fighting for their playoff lives. They face a Charger team which is coming off a sound defeat by the same Lions team who rallied back against us the week before. However, that Charger team demolished the normally stout Baltimore Ravens earlier this month, so which Charger team will show up is a matter which until the game is underway shall remain undetermined. We cannot say if Philip Rivers will be more like Dan Fouts or Ryan Leaf. The one thing we do know is that the Chargers are beat up and have nothing to play for, other than the chance to knock the Raiders out of playoff contention. Still, a high-octane offense with nothing whatsoever to lose (except their coach's job) can be a dangerous thing.
The Raiders may finally be getting healthy. This is a very good thing. John Henderson and Darren McFadden may both be out, but the team has been making do without them. That being said, with Darren McFadden the Raiders are one of the very top teams in the AFC. Without Darren McFadden, the Raiders are merely a good team who can beat lesser teams but fall meekly before the elite teams, tripping over their own shoelaces. A stouter defense would make up for this, but a healthy McFadden frankly makes such a defense a luxury.
Luckily for the Raiders, the Chargers have proven to be something less than an elite team, especially in their current state of poor health. Moreover, the Raiders are playing at home, where the crowd will be raucous and will harry the Chargers at every opportunity. Penalties may be a factor, but penalties are ALWAYS a factor and the Raiders' level of success despite the alarming number of penalties speaks to both the overall talent level on the team and the steady, even-keeled coaching prowess of Hue Jackson. He is the rock of this team and he will have his finest hour on Sunday. I have little doubt the officials will do whatever may lie within their power to rob the Raiders of victory, but in spite of their efforts I see the Raiders coming out on top. Raiders win, 23-16.
I do not know whether or not this will be enough to get the Raiders into the playoffs. I have faith in the Ravens, but very little in the Jets, Texans, and Chiefs. Come what may, I am proud of the Raiders' perseverance this year in the face of crippling and surmounting misfortune, and I look forward to seeing before any of you what the future of the team may hold. GO RAIDERS.