This is it people!! This game means more than any other game for the Oakland Raiders in the past decade. Even though they do not own control of their own destiny there is a very good chance of making it into the playoffs with a win. However even if things don't fall our way and we miss the playoffs for yet another season a win still would mean the world to me. I am so sick of this streak of non-winning seasons and it is incredibly important to end it right here and now. Beat the Chargers and finish this season 9-7 and let the chips fall where they may.
Surprise, surprise, we do not have Darren McFadden once again. This is one team where Michael Bush has always done very well against anyway but still its tough to go yet another game without DMC. I understand that it has been a ploy to claim DMC might play each week but man has it been annoying. I keep telling myself forget about it, he is done for the season, but still I find myself hoping he can play week in and week out. I am not at all on the trade McFadden band wagon that seems to be gaining momentum, but I do understand the frustration that caused that train to get on a railroad track.
Having Jacoby Ford back would be great. He has already announced himself that he will be out there and all the reports seem to confirm that. He is such a huge weapon and opens things up for everybody else on the field. It has been a tough season not having him out there, even though it is only his second season he is easily one of my personal favorite Raiders. The difference between having him and not is extravagant. He is so fast that he demands safety coverage and the more attention he requires the less attention can be paid to our other talented options. If they decide not to shift extra coverage he will burn them and if they do it opens it up for Denarius Moore and DHB. I am excited that it looks like he will be playing, to say it as minimally as I can.
We need our defense to come up big though. We can win a shoot out if our offense is firing on all cylinders but I never trust us to do that. We need to get in Phillip Rivers head right away and stay there the whole game. It is hard to say what type of team we are going to see out of San Diego with them being eliminated from the playoff race, but I would not count on them rolling over for us. They hate us and would love to make us not make the playoffs and have to sit next to them on the couch.
The big injury for them is Vincent Jackson who was almost unstoppable (When he tried to go after the ball) against us the first time around. He has not practiced all week and that usually means they wont be playing. Since this is the last game of the season for them though it looks like he will try and play through any pain. If he does not play then the Charger offense will be far less explosive but with him being listed as probable it looks like a pipe dream to expect him not to play. Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert also haven't been practicing and would be great for the Raiders if they missed this week.
I don't care how we do it, I only care that we win. If we could finish 9-7 it would be a great finish for us considering the unprecedented turmoil we have gone through this year. Winning a game that is so meaningful would do wonders for us in the years to come. The old Raiders would lose a game like this, but I believe that Raider team is in the past. I wont be completely satisfied if we win and miss out on the playoffs, but I would be ALMOST satisfied. I am sick and tired of losing and will be watching this game more intensely than any other this year in hopes that we will have our first winning season since 2002.
This team cares, wants to win, and is ready to not be losers anymore. I don't care if Tom Cable thought we were not losers anymore at 8-8, we still were not winners. Lets finish this season on as good of a note as we can and go out winners. If we can take care of our own business then maybe, just maybe, the football gods will decide our years in purgatory have earned us the right to have another post season to play in. I will be waiting and watching, praying to those football gods to give me a wonderful way to start the new year. Cheers everybody and lets all hope for a Happy New Year!!