Three months ago, the Raiders were unanimously selected to be the worst football team in the NFL for the 2013 season, and I feared I would have nothing to write about aside from 2014 mock drafts by this point. Thankfully, we were all wrong.
Today the Raiders travel to the New Meadowlands, or whatever they're calling that generic crap new stadium, for the second time this year, to face a Jets team rapidly devolving into typical Jetsdom. Geno Smith will reportedly get the start despite being benched repeatedly in their last few games, while Matt McGloin will be under center for the Raiders. I'm guessing McGloin's performance today will be a big factor in how he fits into our future plans. The Jets' run defense is excellent, and after being concussed towards the end of the Dallas game Rashad Jennings' availability is still unknown two and half hours before game time here (I love that the Raiders are taking the competitive, secretive approach to the injury report, but it does feel a little silly when you're a bad team). McFadden has been ruled out. If Jennings can't go, Taiwan Jones, a former RB converted to defensive back this year, will be lining up back in his old position in the offensive backfield. Not sure if he's even seen the field on defense this year, which tells you all you need to know about his ability as a running back.
The Raiders will likely be airing it out today. The matchup to watch will be our young undrafted QB and receivers going up against Dee Milliner, who decided it was his agent's fault that he was only drafted 9th overall this year subsequently and fired him. Naturally he's played like getting taken 90th overall would have been a reach. Like Smith, he's also been benched repeatedly. Mike Wallace, of all people, made him look like an idiot last week. This is precisely the kind of guy all respectable viewers would love to see get roasted by McGloin.
Starting strong safety Tyvon Branch was originally supposed to return from an injury suffered in the Jacksonville game today, but that's been pushed back to next week. As alluded to in the Cowboys wrap-up, I'm somewhat curious as to how badly we want to win our remaining games. The players are undoubtedly all in. But our coach and GM, who appear to be working hand-in-hand... I'm not so sure. It's been announced that Terrelle Pryor is likely to get another shot to start at QB. That makes a lot of sense for our last game of the year, at home against a Denver team that will likely have nothing to play for and will probably be resting some guys. All of our last three games are against division rivals, so everybody in the locker room will be out for blood. But in the Raiders' present situation, the stated desire to "evaluate" could also be interpreted as "maybe kinda sorta tanking." Do I want to beat the shit out of the Chargers, Chiefs, and Broncos? Of course. But it's not about this year. Which is something some of Raider Nation might need reminding of, as the "FIRE DENNIS ALLEN!" geniuses are popping up again. So embarrassing.
Today though, I'm expecting an all-out effort from the boys. We need to start beating teams on the road when we go back east if we're ever going to contend again, and today would be the ideal time to get that ball rolling. This game stacks up much the same as the Titans game did, in that it should actually be pretty interesting if you're a fan, probably not so much for the neutrals. Points will again be at a premium. My prediction for that game was too on point, so let's try this again- this time, the Raiders get 20; a TD on offense and defense, and two Polish Cannon FGs. Jets 13. So it is said, so it shall be. Go Raiders.