Greetings, Raider fans! It is I, your hero, your paragon of virtue, the shah of scrying, the rajah of revelation, the poobah of prophecy, and the World's Most Dangerous Hermit. After a much-needed bye week following a loss to the Chefs which I correctly predicted, RaiderDamus has returned to endow each and every one of you, my adoring fans, with wisdom from beyond our material plane.
As usual, the Great Beyond has chosen to tell me about the Raider game rather than anything really important like how to end world hunger or how to get Miley Cyrus off my damn television, but for a culture desperately trying to escape the horrors of reality, football is the most important thing there is.
I predicted a close game between the Raiders and the Chefs, and for most of the game that's exactly what we got. Normally in those circumstances the Raiders would pull it out in overtime and break the Chefs' hearts, but the denizens of Kansas City decided as a group to temporarily become the World's Loudest and Most Abrasive People. This is a healthy, refreshing change from their usual title of World's Fattest Barbecue Enthusiasts. The crowd spurred on the Chefs to totally dominate the Raiders offensive line, which decided to call in sick for the game. Terrelle Pryor barely escaped the game with his life, as the Raider line had more casualties than the Bataan Death March.
But that was last week, this is now.
The Raiders face a truly decrepit Steeler team this week, who have a record of 2-4. Don't let the Steeler record fool you, they suck a lot. Their normal modus operandi of running the ball and playing stifling defense has gone by the wayside because 1) they have had a patchwork offensive line and no good running backs and 2) their defense is so old it farts dust. Their defensive coordinator, Dick Lebeau, was a waiter at the Last Supper and is currently confused by the concept of the forward pass. He also yells at the sky and wants to know why you don't visit him anymore.
The former problem has mostly been cured by the returns of guard David DeCastro, who is tossing around defensive linemen like so many horseshoes, and running back LeVeon Bell, who is extremely talented and should be the next great Steelers back in the mold of Jerome Bettis and so many other sluggish overhyped meatheads before them. Bell attended Michigan State, which means he is in possession of two main qualities: Dissiplin and Strenth.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, they are playing one of the league's best run defenses in Oakland. Think about it, when is the last time you saw any back break off a huge run against the Raiders, or even string together a lot of good runs? It was before this year, I assure you. Normally the season would open and someone like Chris Johnson would gash us for 180 yards and then the season would end with some assclown like Ryan Mathews playing far above his station.
Not so for this year. While teams have had a modicum of success through the air against Oakland's secondary, which is most likely due primarily to the absence of Tyvon Branch, nobody has been able to run on this team. They are stout at the point of attack and Nick Roach is an excellent middle linebacker. This is a welcome departure from the days when noted nincompoop Rolando McClain was patrolling the middle of the field as well as Colonel Klink patrolled the POW camp to which he was assigned. "Hooooogan!" McClain would yell as another running back whooshed by him.
Pittsburgh's problems are also compounded by the fact that Mike Wallace took his talents to South Beach and is currently languishing in much the same mediocrity to which he would have been exposed had he stayed in Pittsburgh.
Ben Roethlisberger has one steady target to throw to, Antonio Brown. Emmanuel Sanders is also playing well but neither are on Wallace's level. Heath Miller also will return this week, and while he is a steady weapon he isn't targeted nearly as much as he ought to be, and will not be targeted at all if Roethlisberger has no time to throw.
Given the fact that the Steelers in an act of sheer desperation signed Levi Brown (who promptly injured himself without ever making an impact in an impressive microcosm of his entire career to date) the tackle situation is, shall we say, in flux. This doesn't really bode well against Lamarr Houston, who is proving himself to be one of the league's best defensive ends and one of Al Davis' finest late-life draft selections.
This is going to be a tough game. These two teams hate each other and are rivals, based on nothing except the NFL playoffs in the 1970s which cemented Pittsburgh's reputation as the biggest bunch of cheating scoundrels this side of Oakland themselves. Outside of the teams in the AFC West, there is no team I want to lose more than the Steelers. Seeing them fall apart early this season has warmed my heart and given me a tingly feeling in my loins. Pittsburgh doesn't do well on the West Coast even when they have a championship-caliber team and this year they are far from that.
Raiders win, 24-20.