This Sunday, the (4-2) Oakland Raiders hit the road to play the (2-3) Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7. Let’s take a quick look at the history between these two teams.
Total Games Between the Raiders and the Jaguars: 7
All-Time Record: Jaguars lead, 4-3
Current Streak: Raiders, 2 straight
Total Raiders Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 119 (17 points per game)
Total Jaguars Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 155 (22.1 points per game)
Longest Raiders Winning Streak Against Jaguars: 2 ( October 21, 2013 – present)
Longest Jaguars Winning Streak Against Raiders: 4 (December 21st, 1997 – October 21st, 2012)
I am older than the Jacksonville Jaguars. You probably are, too.
Yet and still, out of seven meetings since their very first in 1996 (which is a strangely low number, considering they’ve always been in the same conference), the Jags have gotten the better of the Raiders four times.
It should be noted, oddly enough, that these two teams went eight years (1997-2005) without playing a regular season game against one another. That’s certainly some sort of scheduling blip, an INITECH-type clerical error that went undetected for some time, before the league office realized they were mysteriously missing three hundred racks.
It’s easy to forget (because it’s Jacksonville, naturally) that the Jaguars of the late 90s were among the NFL’s best teams, taking part in some memorable playoff games/runs, peaking with a 14-2 in the 1999 season.
On the other side of the country, the Raiders, after posting losing records in ’96 and ’97, were in the process of being turned around by one Jon Gruden, and as the Jaguars began to middle at the turn of the century, going 7-9 in 2000 and 6-10 in 2001, the Raiders took their place as one of the top teams in the conference.
All of that to say, it’s very likely we missed out on some classics between a team on the rise and a legitimate title contender — just the type of matchup NFL schedule-makers clamor over themselves to book. Really makes you wonder.
In any event, the Raiders and Jags reconvened in Oakland in 2005, a firefight between two future all-time greats in Kerry Collins and Byron Leftwich, respectively. The two signal-callers lit it up, combining for a whopping 283 yards through the air, and tossing four interceptions collectively, as the Jags, then in their second year under Jack Del Rio’s leadership, edged the Raiders 13-6 — a close battle that would set the tone for their rivaling ambitions of conference dominance for years to come.
No? Very well then.
In all actuality, Oakland and Jacksonville have engaged in some close games over the years, though little in the way of any with real implications. By and large, they’ve been matchups of two bad teams looking to secure one of the only winnable games on their schedules.
The most recent of these took place at the Coliseum during the second week of the 2013. The beleaguered Darren McFadden had one of his final notable performances in silver and black, posting 129 yards on 19 carries. But especially memorable was the flying, touchdown-saving, one-armed tackle made by future first-ballot HOFer and top-five Raider of all-time (ALL-TIME) Charles Woodson, that essentially ended Maurice Jones-Drew’s career (as we would find out the following season).
We miss you, 24.
This past offseason, both the Jaguars and the Raiders received the dreaded “sleeper team” label from pundits and analysts around the league, to varying degrees. Admittedly, the parallels between the two are so congruent they seem scripted. Both franchises are former cellar-dwellers who now have a young, impressive corps of talent on either side of the ball. Both are playing in very winnable divisions, and have the potential to emerge as playoff clubs.
And of course, quarterbacks Derek Carr and Blake Bortles are indelibly linked. Taken in the same class almost a full round apart, the debate surrounding who’s better now and who’ll be better in the long run (only supplemented by their up-and-down play in their first two seasons as starters, as well as expectations going into their third) is truly just getting started. Sunday is just an exercise of fanning the flames.
So far this season, the Raiders have somewhat, kinda sorta lived up to their so-called hype, posting a 4-2 record through their first six contests. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have stumbled out of the gate, losing their first three and eeking out wins in their last two against the Colts and the Bears. They also share common opponents in the Ravens and Chargers; the Jags were defeated by both, while the Raiders scored wins over them.
In essence, this game was circled by many to be one to keep an eye on, a clash of two young teams on the rise. Indeed, the stakes are palpable; the Raiders need to make a statement after a disappointing loss at home to a division rival, and the Jags need to save their season and stay afloat in the AFC South.
Something tells me this one will be especially fun to watch, and I certainly look forward to seeing just how sassy Jags rookie corner Jalen Ramsey will be after having his hands full with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
One final note: all of Raiders three all-time wins against Jacksonville have come in Oakland. They’ve never won a game in Jacksonville. How sweet would it be for the longest-tenured coach in Jags franchise history to come back coaching the team he rooted for growing up, and take a W in the process? Who doesn’t want to stunt on their ex with their next?
Enjoy the game, Nation.