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49ers vs. Raiders: Can Oakland Make Bay Area Battle Interesting?

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49ers vs. Raiders: Can Oakland Make Bay Area Battle Interesting?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After a 13-3 regular-season record and trip to the NFC championship game, it's clear why the San Francisco 49ers are the football darlings of the Bay Area. In those glistening red and gold uniforms, the 49ers adopted coach Jim Harbaugh's philosophies and had the best turnaround in the league last season.

Across the bay, the Raiders, who started hot with Jason Campbell and finished mild with Carson Palmer, finished third in the AFC West despite having the same 8-8 record as the division-winning Denver Broncos. Dennis Allen, with an offseason to teach Carson Palmer the playbook, will look to take the Raiders back to the playoffs for the first time since their loss in Super Bowl XXXVII (2003).

Let's now look at some of the factors in the 2012-2013 season that could swing the football fanatics of the Bay Area to follow Raider nation this coming fall.

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