And a team to whom, unfortunately, the Raiders lose more often than not. Of course, that was the old Raiders, not the new, improved Raiders we've seen the majority of this season.
Houston will be without Andre Johnson, widely considered the best wideout in the NFL. They were without Johnson last year in Oakland, and Arian Foster ran all over the Raiders. Foster had over 120 yards, after halftime. Foster was shut down in the first quarter because of a violation of team rules; it didn't matter.
As soon as he entered the game, the poetic RB took off for a long TD run in which he showcased his long strides, ability to break tackles and then his love for himself with a grandiose TD celebration.
The Raiders were defeated, and embarrassed at home by a rival that we've all grown to hate. Kind of like last weekend's opponent.
I cannot overstate how much mistakes cost the Raiders last weekend. They were the better team on the field; when they got out of their own way. But from the moment Richard Seymour went a little too far—and did he REALLY deserve a penalty for that?—the Raiders hurt themselves more than the Patriots did.
The Raiders and their mistakes cost them the game against the Patriots. I'm not one to complain about officiating often, but all I will say is that the Patriots are a good enough team to win without substantial help—and double standard calls—from the officiating squad.
The Raiders are under pressure to clean things up this weekend, Jason Campbell must continue to play well and avoid the baffling mistakes he made last weekend and the coaching staff has to continue to feed McFadden, who inexplicably was taken out of the game plan for large chunks of time last weekend.
Hue has guaranteed a division title; I like the bravado, but now, he and the team have to put their money where his mouth so often is.
Can they do it? What else have we learned about the Raiders? Is Houston as good as people think? Will I ever stop asking rhetorical questions?
Turn the page and find out.