A New Era of Excellence is not just the slogan the Oakland Raiders are using to sell tickets (Call 1-800-Raiders), it is an acknowledgement of moving on from the great Al Davis. It is a carefully thought out slogan that the Raiders have put into place to tell us fans that we are moving on to a new era of football. It also says that while they still will embrace many ideologies of Al Davis, many things will be changing too.
So many things already have changed to prove that to be true. However, while change is happening many of the statements made still show that the Raiders mystique is going to stay alive and well. Specifically this new slogan shows that because it is a spin on our Commitment to Excellence slogan. It takes our mystique and our commitment to excellence and it merges it with the new era beginning. Simple yet exact. It shows us the Raiders will remain what we loved, while embracing the future unlike we ever have before.
We are but days away from seeing that future begin and a lot of fans are not so sure of the excellence part as of yet. I am not one that is pessimistic about this season but I also have seen too many failures to be able to think that we are going to fly out the gate with no set backs. I am very excited though, which is no different from every other year of Raider football that I have been alive for. I have always been a firm believer that its a new year and anything can happen. Unfortunately recent history has repeated itself more often than any of us would have liked.
Luckily for us we get to start off the season against a division rival that is already experiencing more than a fair share of injuries. Make no mistake about it though, this will not be a walk over game. San Diego has been extremely disappointing the last few years, notorious for their slow starts. I am not anticipating that to continue. Norv Turner knows that his bottom region is feeling the heat and if he expects to cool it he will need to come out strong.
Now just because I feel like this is going to be a harder game than it appears does not mean that I think we will lose it. I believe we are going to play well, far better than any game in the preseason, and we are going to earn a victory in this game. Michael Harris, the rookie left tackle that they are going to start, is going to get blown up and Rivers is going to be running for his life this whole game.
Our defensive line is going to be the main reason that we win this game but our offense will make enough plays to be successful as well. It is going to be a heavy dose of Darren McFadden but I believe where the real damage is going to come is from play action. DMC is going to get plenty of yards but I believe the scoring will come through the air. We need Palmer to give the fans something to be excited about, which means a game with 0 interceptions. I know that seems very unlikely but I am putting that down as one of my predictions for this game, NO INTs.
My other predictions that I am going to make are:
- Raiders defense gets 5 sacks in this game, 3 because of the rookie tackle (2 from Shaughnessy, 1 from Tollefson), one from the middle (Houston) and one from a safety blitz (Branch) not being picked up due to helping the rookie.
- Raiders defense will get 1 int (Huff) but will get burnt deep twice for touchdowns.
- Carson Palmer will throw 3 TDs (1 DHB, 1 DMC, 1 Reece) along with his 0 Ints. Yards will be around 240.
- Darren McFadden will have 100 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving with 1 TD receiving.
- Darrius Heyward Bey will have 70 yards and 1 receiving TD.
- Dennis Allen will incorrectly challenge a play.
- Special Teams will perform well, SD will never start a drive past their own 40 yard line.
- Final score will be 24-17, Raiders victory.
Now that I have put some bold predictions out there, feel free to put your own in the comments section. I am excited to see what our new Oakland Raiders team is going to bring. I doubt the Raiders will start out with the excellence part down pat, with new coaching and so many new players some hiccups should be expected. I really believe we come out with a win in this first game of the New Era of Excellence though. My last prediction is the easiest to make, Dennis Allen will look mighty good sporting the Silver and Black on the sidelines.