‘Winning cures all’ is a popular saying in sports. And in the NFL where there are just 16 games per season, a win means a lot more than it does in say Major League Baseball or the NBA. But even in the NFL, when that win is put alongside a lot of losses, it doesn’t cure much.
After week three, the Raiders were winless on the season, having collapsed in the second half of each game. At that point, fan confidence in the direction of the team had dipped to just 32%.
They came back to Oakland to face the 1-1-1 Browns desperate to cobble together something. And they did. They won the game, end of story, yay!
That win was about as tough as they come. They needed overtime to do it, and in that overtime period Derek Carr went over 400 yards passing, and Amari Cooper and Jared Cook both went over 100 yards receiving, joining Marshawn Lynch who went over 100 yards rushing. And the Raiders every yard of that to pull it out.
The Raiders blew a lead several times to the Browns. And though the Browns are actually a pretty decent team this year, they had done their share of collapsing this season as well. They also had a rookie quarterback making his first start, and lost two of their top three cornerbacks during the game.
With all this, the Raiders gave up 42 points and came within inches on an overturned first down run from dropping their 4th straight to start the Jon Gruden era. That defense is still a major concern while Khalil Mack is in Chicago winning NFC Defensive Player of the month honors.
There were some positive signs in the win. Showing some resilience was huge for their confidence. The late game heroics were admirable and, who knows, it may just start something for them to have come back to win instead of fade away to lose.
It may also be one of those things they will be facing every week with the odds of pulling out those wins stacked against them.
This week’s FanPulse poll suggest the Raider Nation may have been encouraged by the Raiders getting their first win, they’re still hesitant to jump in and say things have turned around. (Sign up here to take our weekly Raiders survey)
Confidence level rose slightly this week, but just 6% to reach 38% after the first quarter.
They will head to Los Angeles to play the Chargers Sunday, making for a pivotal game in terms of their season prospects. The Chargers are a pretty good team, but not unbeatable.
Though they were the offseason favorite to win the AFC West, it’s hard to know exactly how good they are because their two wins were against bottom feeders in the Bills and 49ers while their two losses were to the league’s only undefeated teams; the Rams and Chiefs.
What we do know is they have one of the league’s top offenses, having scored at least 23 points in every game this season and averaging nearly 28 points per game.
Should the Raiders lose, they would fall to 1-4 on the season and 0-2 in the division. And fan confidence will rightfully tumble.
Should the Raiders pull out a win, they will pull to within one game of .500, having beaten a very good team and division rival. If that were to happen, I fully expect the fan confidence to shoot up, especially with three of the most favorable part of the schedule upcoming with match-ups such as the Seahawks, Colts, 49ers and Cardinals. Beating up on bad out of division teams isn’t going to cut it. Gotta have this one in Los Angeles.