Oakland Raiders at the Crossroads of Their 2010 Season: Who Are You?

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Oakland Raiders at the Crossroads of Their 2010 Season: Who Are You?
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What next for Cable and the Raiders?

"Who are You?", so sang Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who during the half-time show at the last Superbowl. It has been made famous by CSI but perhaps the Oakland Raiders could adopt it as their new theme?

Because when it come to the Silver-and-Black in 2010, I feel we are all entitled to ask "tell me, who are you? 'Cause I really wanna know"

Is this the team that played near perfect football against Denver, scoring eight TDs along the way and amassing 500+ yards of offense? Or are they the team that could only score three FGs and a pitiful 179 yards of offense against the otherwise winless 49ers?

Is this the Raiders who allowed Tennessee to rack up 24 unanswered points in the space of 16 plays or the Raiders who kept Denver off the scoreboard until the game was already won?

Is this a defense that limited Larry Fitzgerald to two catches for 26 yards and Brandon Lloyd to one catch for 46 yards; or is this the defense that gave up eight receptions for 213 yards to Malcolm Floyd?

Erratic does not come close to summing up the 2010 season for Oakland. Jason Campbell has highlighted this perfectly by book-ending his worst career game (10.7 QB rating against San Francisco) with the best two games of his career (117.6 QB rating against San Diego and 127.9 QB rating against Denver). You can not get more erratic than that!

Sir Winston Churchill said in 1939 "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". The same could be said of Tom Cable’s Raiders – how can they soar so high and yet fall so low? Which is the real Oakland?

In a 2009 "Inside the NFL show" Warren Sapp gave an interesting insight into Raider life:

Warren Sapp: "But Oakland plays worse when they have confidence.  Oakland plays worse when they feel good about themselves."

Chris Collinsworth: "Wait, wait, wait.  You played out there."

Warren Sapp: "I was there for four years!  Trust me."

Chris Collinsworth: "You gotta' explain that one.  What do you mean?"

Warren Sapp: "Whenever we felt good about going into the week, we would laid an egg.  I mean an absolute egg."

James Brown: "Why?"

Phil Simms: "So you couldn't handle success?"

Warren Sapp: "Not even a little bit.  Not even a little confidence."

Will history repeat itself? Will the Silver and Black have been patting themselves down all week, basking in the afterglow of the Mile-High victory? Will they lay out the red carpet for the Seahawks? Or has the light finally come on?

It is fairly obvious what works and what doesn't work for this Oakland team. Starting slowly, playing conservatively and not hitting pay-dirt in the red-zone is a sure fire recipe for disaster.

Being ready for the get-go, playing in the opponents faces, being aggressive on offense and defense and punching it in for TDs not FGs could actually see the Silver-and-Black in the play-offs.

Yes, that's right the play-offs. Oakland has a tough schedule from here on in but the Raider Nation should make no mistake, this is as talented a squad of players as there is in the NFL. If they can get all aligned in the same direction, great things are possible.

But this doesn't just happen. Oakland cannot carry forward any of the points from the Denver game. The score is 0-0 against Seattle and unless the Raiders find the same mindset as last week, this is just going to be the latest in a long list of false dawns.

The Oakland Raiders are at the final cross-roads of their 2010 season. They had a great off-season but this went up in smoke with a 1-3 start to the campaign. They thought they'd turned it around with an historic victory over San Diego and then kissed it off against the 'Niners.

This is their third and final chance. Do they want to be contenders? Or are they happy with some memories and highlight-reels of big plays? Will it be third time lucky or three and out?

One thing is for sure, we will know more about the Raiders and the direction of their season this Sunday.

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