After weeks of calling out my team, I'm ready to write an article that may make people think that I've finally lost it. I'm not going to quote Jim Mora, Sr. and address Richard Seymour as if he's an idiot. No, I'm not going to do that. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to...Gulp! Get this...I think I'm going to go on record and agree with Seymour's take on the Raiders in the playoffs.
I know what you guys are thinking: Huh? What? Are you kidding me? You're an idiot? You're drinking the kool-aid! I know. Two weeks ago I would be thinking the same exact thing, but hear me out.
Seymour stated, "You can mark it down. The Raiders will be in the playoffs."
Now here's why Seymour's statement can carry some weight:
Number one. The Raiders are currently 2-4 but are actually a blown call from being 3-3. The standings reveal that the first wild card would be awarded to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 4-2 record. The second wild-card would probably be awarded to the 3-3 New York Jets. That would put the Raiders a single game out of wild card contention.
Number two. The two games left before the bye in week 8 are against the struggling New York Jets and the hated San Diego Chargers. The Chargers are 2-3 and a half game ahead of Oakland, and the Jets are one game better than the Raiders. A pair of wins over the next two weeks will pull Oakland even with both of those clubs and it will draw them closer to wild card contention.
Number three. The later bye week this season give the Raiders ample time to heal their walking wounded. Chaz Schilens comes back this week, Robert Gallery should be back after the bye, and Darren McFadden's recovery should be complete by the time Oakland gets ready to play Cincinnati.
Number four. Should the Raiders pull off the two victories before the bye and get to the .500 mark, they'll get the struggling Kansas City Chiefs, the beatable Cincinnati Bengals, and the over-rated Dallas Cowboys. Those are three very winnable games. Those three games could get Oakland to 7-4 and staring directly at a possible playoff run.
Number five. The addition of players like Richard Seymour, Greg Ellis, and Louis Murphy to go along with Nnamdi Asomugha, Shane Lechler, and Sebastian Janikowsi give the Raiders the little bit of experience necessary to make a run at the playoffs.
Why Louis Murphy? He played on two National Championship teams in college. His play and work ethic reflect a natural desire and drive to win. Seymour's credentials cannot be questioned, and Greg Ellis has been on the verge of big things with an underachieving Cowboys team. The three Raiders mentioned before the new guys are holdovers from the Super Bowl team of 2002.
The possibilities are there. It's all a matter of showing up against the Jets and exhibiting that same passion, drive, and reckless abandon that Oakland demonstrated against the Eagles. The coaches need to coach and the players need to play. Don't worry about what Mr. Davis says or threatens. I believe he's as tired of losing as most of Raider Nation.
Once again, the cautious optimism is back, and let's hope that this time, it's back for good.