My #GMCPlaybook question to @SBNation: What ONE remaining game matters most to your team? http://t.co/K7mHOw4HRX— Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) November 13, 2014
There have been several milestones this season for the Raiders. And in each case, the Raiders have passed that milestone with another notch in the loss column. As there is just 7 games left for the Raiders to find a win, each game begs the question 'could this be the one?'. But perhaps none moreso than the one this Sunday in San Diego.
The first milestone this season was the home opener against the Texans. After the loss in New York in the opener, I called that game against the Texans a 'must-win' to save Dennis Allen's job because the following weeks didn't offer a better chance to get a win in the first four games and beginning 0-4 would most certainly earn him a pink slip.
The Raiders lost badly to the Texans, then did indeed for 0-4 and Dennis Allen did get the boot.
The next milestone was the week 6 game in Oakland against these same Chargers. That was because it was Tony Sparanos first game and everyone was wondering how the team would emerge from their bye weel with a new coach in place. They had their most competitive game from the offensive side of the ball, but still couldn't pull out the win.
The lat milestone was the game in Cleveland in week 8. In the midst of a tough schedule it was seen as one of the few remaining 'winnable' games on the schedule. Now three weeks later, the Raiders have three more losses in the books.
What makes this game an important one is the Chargers haven't won since they last faced the Raiders. And they very nearly lost that one. They are 0-3 since then, having lost worse to the Dolphins than even the Raiders did in London.
The Chargers have been on a downward spiral. They have no homefield advantage againt the Raiders with the large Raiders fan contingency in San Diego. Even Jason Verrett -- the cornerback who picked off Derek Carr to seal the victory in week six -- is injured and won't play in this game.
No one is picking the Raiders to win this game, including myself. But I have said it may very well be their best chance to get a win over the remaining schedule.
The only other game that looks winnable is the one in St Louis against the 3-6 Rams. But despite their record, there are a few things that make this a tough match-up. First, the Rams will have homefield advantage. Also, they will have Chris Long back which will solidify their formerly elite pass rush. And two of their three wins are against the 49ers and Seahawks. And in the 'what have you done for me lately' realm, they are 2-2 during the same timespan the Chargers have gone 0-3.
Also consider, of course, this week is a division game. Not only are those always more important, but they are usually much more competitive with phrase 'throw the records out' often uttered.
This game is huge, make no mistake about it. From the outset, it is not only the most important, but it appears to be the Raiders best/only chance to stave off an 0-fer 2014.
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