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Oakland Raiders: A Serious Study Of Opponents In 2010

Honor Warren Wells TheTorch@dbintayaelSenior Writer IIAugust 22, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 21: Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders looks for a receiver against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Intelligence, intensity, integrity, stamina and fierce determination are some of the qualities needed in the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

It's almost as if the Raiders should play football as though their career depended on winning. Yes, their careers do depend on winning.

Earlier articles were written to encourage the players to do their own self-study to determine their strengths, weaknesses and points of vulnerability.

Similarly, a study of the opponents' systems, strategies, plays, intelligence, intensity, integrity and stamina must be done on an ongoing basis.

So, a series of articles are discussing test models to determine reliable and simple measures of the places of vulnerability of the opponent's team if those places are measurable and identifiable.

A lot of data is archived and it is done for use to characterize what is going on with each player, each team, each division and so on.

Yes, it takes time and discipline to create arrays of numbers that tell a story that may not be discernible to most readers. Nevertheless, sometimes there are distinct patterns in each team's database.

The sports writer or researcher must find ways to make those patterns obvious and to make observations of those patterns.

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Ideally, others will critique these methods. Of course, it is assumed that an explanation of the design of a given model will be presented simply and clearly so that others can engage in the discussion.

Once a good model that is valid and reliable is discovered by those writers who know the behaviors of each player and each team, they must tweak the model to make it more suitable for realistic interpretations.

Some of the models may eventually be suitable for forecasts or for descriptions only.

A helpful hint to understand this innovative process is to study the graphs and determine when one curve is above the other. When one curve is above the other, it means that the team associated with the given curve outperforms the team with the lower curve. That situation is called "dominance" using my terminology.

For example, look at this graph for data from 1978 to 2009, the period in which there are 16 games in the regular season.

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A little lesson

Clearly those intervals in which the blue curve is above the red curve are the intervals when the Raiders had more wins per regular season than the Broncos.

The reader can visually scan the graph and determine which team appears to be the better team during specified eras or  time frames. Obviously, near the right end of the graph, you see that Oakland has been dominated by the Broncos.

This same type of study could be done for each game during the regular season.

Those of you who know the strengths of the new players, the strategies and other intuitive aspects of the game can tweak the data and come out with a better understanding.

The numbers are produced by the NFL. We, then, must attempt to interpret, describe, interpolate, or extrapolate whatever the numbers may have the capability of telling the writer or researcher.

I truly believe that if more of us become comfortable discussing the data using the symbolic, verbal, numerical and graphical approach, we will be able to defeat our opponents no matter how formidable that opponent may be perceived to be.

By searching through the data we can zoom in on the strengths and weaknesses of the Raiders. We, too, can characterize the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents.

Since Al Davis has reportedly been a student of military content and strategies, it just makes sense for some writers, researchers and thinkers to use a similar process to move the entire franchise toward more victories in 2010 and beyond.

Go Raiders! Go thinkers in the Raider Nation! Let's continue a serious study of the opponents of the Oakland Raiders. Do not relent!

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