It is almost Halloween, and the Raiders have the perfect costume. This year’s team will be going as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (a novel written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and based on a character with Split Personalities). This is the ideal costume for a team that can anger and mystify one week and totally amaze and dominate the next.
The Raiders (3-4) look to continue their momentum this Sunday after they scored a franchise record 59 points in a 59-14 drubbing of their AFC rival Denver Broncos. They play host to the (4-2) Seattle Seahawks, this Halloween Sunday at the Oakland –Alameda County Coliseum.
Already seven weeks into the NFL season and the Oakland Raiders have experienced enough highs and lows to last them a lifetime. After falling to the San Francisco 49ers 17-9 in Week 6, in what could be considered one of the ugliest games of the year, the Oakland Raiders unleashed the offensive restraints and rode running back Darren McFadden to a career day and most importantly, a lopsided divisional win over bitter rival Denver.
In what can only be described as total domination, the Raiders harassed, abused and humiliated Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos for four quarters, but it was in the first quarter they made their statement with a 24 point lead. This left the home team fans at Invesco Field speechless and stunned. The Broncos have now lost three in a row to the Raiders at home in Denver.
This game was not about Jason Campbell and the Raiders coaching staff. No, it was more of yet another glimpse of how Darren McFadden can dominate and single handily take over a game. His ability (when healthy) will ultimately help the still indecisive Jason Campbell and open up the passing game. That is why the Raiders drafted McFadden out of Arkansas, with the fourth pick of the 2008 NFL Draft.
McFadden was the catalyst for the team gaining a season high 165 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns. His longest run of the day was for 57 yards. Let’s put that into perspective. The last Raider running back to have four touchdowns in a game was Harvey Williams (yes, that one) back in 1997. And before that it was Marcus Allen (yes, that one) in 1984.
The win was impressive and the stats looked great, but this is the National Football League and you must play one week at a time. This is where the Jekyll and Hyde scenario comes in to effect. The Seattle Seahawks are a dangerous team and are looking to take the air out of the Raiders sails. These former AFC rivals have a long history, and Seattle is looking to snap a five-game losing streak in Oakland dating back to 1995. Seattle is currently 1-3 on the road this year and beat the Raiders in their last meeting up in Seattle in 2006.
The Seahawks are off to their best start (4-2) since 2006. And on paper, the Seahawks are defending the run well, and veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck looks to be capable of running Pete Carroll's offense. New addition Marshawn Lynch has been looking to establish himself at running back, and what better place to do it than in your hometown. Lynch attended Oakland Technical High School and was a standout running back at Cal.
The Seahawks are looking to continue their winning ways on Sunday and come into Oakland with a two-game winning streak and looking to spoil the Raider Faithful’s Halloween. The Raiders have an opportunity to keep momentum on their side and string together back to back victories, like they did against Houston and Tampa Bay to end the 2008 season.
Who will show up Sunday afternoon in Oakland? Is it the Dr. Jekyll persona of the Oakland Raiders, with an aggressive over achieving defense and running game? Or the penalty ridden, lackluster and frustrating Mr. Hyde version of the Oakland Raiders?