Raiders Can’t Win on the East Coast
First, let me say that this part of the column typically speaks to something we learned last week in the last game — or over the course of the season thus far.
Since there is no real last week — I’m through overreacting to preseason stuff — and little material to work with as of yet, we go back to a trend that was somewhat ended last year.
After winning in Cleveland during week three of the 2015 season, the Raiders found themselves in unfamiliar territory. They were victors of game played in the Eastern Time zone. It was surreal.
You see, the Raiders had lost sixteen straight games in the Eastern Time zone. Sixteen.
That is an entire NFL season’s worth of games — in a row — in a single time zone. This spanned six seasons.
Well, the Raiders not only beat the Browns — which I mean, come on — they also beat the Titans in EST. Two wins in one year. Yes, they did lose four, but they won two.
While the Titans and Browns weren’t exactly NFL powerhouses in 2015, a Raider victory in the Eastern Time zone hadn’t happened in — repeat it with me now — six whole years and sixteen games. So even beating the Culinary School of Western Michigan would’ve been significant at that point.
The Raiders were done no favours in the Eastern Time zone department by 2016 NFL schedule makers, as I pointed out in this article during the summer. Coach Del Rio mildly expressed his slight annoyance with the schedule during an interview with Sporting News.
Back-to-back games in Jacksonville and Tampa and traveling to Kansas City for a Thursday game on a short week are the biggest beefs, but this team proved last year that they can win in the Eastern Time zone. They should’ve had a third win against the Bears but some poor clock management and ill-timed defensive lapses cost them that one.
At the very least, the psychological baggage of six straight seasons of losing in the Eastern Time zone is gone, and it’s no longer a matter of the team being defeated before they even kickoff. This team believes they can win, and believes they should win. Wherever. Whenever.