Oakland Raiders Search for Road Win in Season Finale


Nov 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) after the game at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite winning their final three home games to close the 2014 season, the Oakland Raiders need to score an upset in Week 17 if they are to avoid an embarrassing stat at the end of the year as a AFC West rivalry game gives the team their final chance at a road win.

0-7 on the road, the Raiders haven’t had the success away from the Coliseum that they have had at home under interim head coach Tony Sparano. A near upset over the Seattle Seahawks serving as one of the only instances in which Oakland were close to getting a win in enemy territory since Sparano took over. Under Dennis Allen at the start of the season, a controversial holding call prevented overtime in New England against the Patriots, but those excuses do little to hide the fact that it is likely that the Raiders will end the season 0-8 on the road in 2014.

This week Sparano has praised his team’s play at home following a third straight win in front of the Black Hole, but stresses that with one game left that his team needs to take that play and that intensity onto the road to face the Broncos.

“When you win three games at home like that, the three teams that we beat in our place, that says an awful lot,” said Sparano during media availability. “Our fans are tremendous, they really are. I’m not just saying that. I’ve been to a lot of places where there is passionate people, but I’ve never been around anything like this. It’s a loud place and it can be a really tough environment for a visiting team. That’s what the Raiders are.”

“Getting that mindset when you travel on the road, you’re the Raiders walking into someone else’s stadium now. You kind of know how you’re going to be received. We have to feed off of that a little bit and turn that energy around.”

With just one game left, winning on the road presents the Raiders with a challenge to get up for into a game where they are expected to lose to the Denver Broncos as two touchdown underdogs. Looking to play spoiler one last time, Sparano, who is still lobbying for a permanent spot as the Raiders head coach, is hoping to use that as motivation to get another upset to close 2014 for Oakland.

“It’s something we talked about a lot this week,” Sparano closed. “At some point in the game, we knew that we would have to turn the tide in this game. It’s something I preach long and hard to the players about. There’s a knockout punch that comes in one of those kinds of fights. We delivered a few of those. We were able to turn the tide in some of those situations. When you’re out on the road, you have to be able to do that. You can’t feed their ego and feed the crowd’s ego. We have to be able to turn the tide when we’re in those situations. Take some of that energy, confidence and swagger that we have from home, and bring it with us on the road. That’s the next step for our football team.”

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At 0-7 it is unlikely the Raiders get a first win on the road with the Broncos looking for a bye, but if they do it will be a great boost for a team heading into the 2015 season. That is something Sparano, angling for a new job, hopes he can achieve in Denver today as if the Raiders upset the Broncos belief in the rebuilding of the franchise will be in good hands under the current interim head coach will only increase. That is easier said than done, but an upset at Mile High Stadium could significantly change the outlook of the team after a sluggish start to the 2014 season just by finishing strong with some big December wins to close the year.