The last time the Oakland Raiders won a game following their bye week was 2002. To put that in perspective I was the ripe age of nine years old, so you can say it has been a long time since the Silver and Black have came out with a win following their week off.
This year head coach Dennis Allen is hoping that trend goes the way of the past and the Raiders can make their bye week losing streak disappear when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to the O.co Coliseum on Sunday. He also admitted that the team is well aware of that losing streak as they prepare during his Monday afternoon presser.
“I think we’re all aware of that, but, like I told the players today, the past has no relevance to the future,” Allen said. “Any of the outcomes that have happened after a bye in the past won’t dictate how we go out and play against Pittsburgh. What’s going to dictate how we go out and play against Pittsburgh is how well we prepare during the week, and then how well do we go out and execute that plan on Sunday.
That losing streak can be partly attributed to the fact that the Raiders just weren’t all that good in the past ten season, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2002 so it isn’t much of a surprise that they haven’t won a ton of games post bye week over the decade. That doesn’t pass for an excuse however as teams have the added advantage of an extra week of preparation and more importantly rest and recovery coming out of the bye, for the Raiders to win on Sunday Allen knows that they will have to use those advantages. He is also confident that he and his staff along with the players did the things they needed to do to come out of the bye prepared to end the post-bye futility.
“I think we had a good plan in the bye. I think we got some guys freshened up a little bit. Now the key is we’ve got to focus in on the preparation. We’ve got to do the things that are necessary to go out and play well on Sunday.”
Oakland is still missing a long list of offensive linemen, many of which were still missing from practice including rookie Menelik Watson who has yet to play a game for the Raiders during his rookie season. Combine those injury woes with Dick LeBeau’s always tough defense coming into town after a big win over the Baltimore Ravens and Allen’s task at ending the team’s 0-10 record after the bye looks like a lot tougher of a task than it did heading into the bye. If there is a positive sign it is that Allen feels that his team is prepared, at the very least expect a very motivated Raiders team come Sunday when they host a franchise they have had countless storied battles with in Pittsburgh.