Let’s get this out of the way right now. Yes, this Sunday is Halloween. And no, Raider Nation doesn’t need a designated day to get dressed up.
There! You haters happy? Now quit reading so me and the rest of my Silver and Black brethren can chop it up.
It has been nearly two years since the Oakland Raiders have won consecutive contests. But who can forget those two wins? Both W’s knocked the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of playoff contention and simultaneously ended Jon Gruden’s coaching career while jump staring Tom Cable’s.
Since then Cable has gotten some inspired performances out of his team but has been unable to do so in consecutive weeks.
After hanging a franchise record 59 points on the Broncos, the Raiders are ripe for a letdown as they welcome the Seattle Seahawks to the Black Hole.
Even longer than the last time the Raiders have won two straight is how long it’s been since this was an annual AFC West rivalry. Seattle has found more success in the NFC than they ever did in the AFC and first year coach Pete Carroll is bringing some of his winning ways from USC to Seattle.
One of the bigger surprises in the NFL this season, Seattle is currently sitting atop the NFC West. While many will point out how downtrodden the Seahawks’ primary competition is, the realists will explain that no apologies are needed if your weakened division makes for easy access to a playoffs birth.
One headline that has been making the rounds this week is the return of one-time Raider Mike Williams who is experiencing a rebirth. Williams will be facing his toughest test of the year as he’ll see plenty of Nnamdi Asomugha on Sunday.
Speaking of tough tests, Darren McFadden is healthy for a second straight week and Seattle’s D has certainly got its work cut out. After all, as McFadden goes, the Oakland offense will follow.
Injuries continue to plague Cable’s roster, this time it is the receiving core that is depleted. Jason Campbell made a complete 180 going from JaMarcus Russell in San Francisco to Jim Plunkett in Denver. If Seattle does their due diligence then they’ll know keeping Zach Miller under wraps will be key to slowing Hue Jackson’s passing game.
For Oakland it is all about setting the tone. Last week, the Raiders put the Broncos to sleep with two scores in 8 seconds. This week, they need to take a similar approach. While you can’t expect to be up 38 points in the second quarter again, there must be the same fire and energy present in Oakland as there was in Denver. Seattle is playing with a lot of confidence and there is more at stake than a two game win streak for Cable.
A win on Sunday puts the Raiders at .500 with half the season gone. A Raider win and a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs would setup a battle for AFC West supremacy in two weeks time.
But that is looking too far down the road.
Right here and now, the Raiders have a golden opportunity to prove they’re not the bi-polar squad that went from 9 in The City to 59 in the Mile High City. For Raider Nation, this could be a true Halloween treat – no costume needed.