The Oakland Raiders had better beware of Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. This has the potential to be the ultimate trap game for the Silver and Black.
The San Francisco 49ers entered the season widely expected to win the NFC west only to fall to 0-5. As the losses crept up, the turmoil began to grow. After complaints that the plays weren't getting to the field on time, the removed their offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. The speculation has begun on Mike Singletary's job security, with PFT reporting tonight that even winning the division may not be enough for him to keep his job following the season, and the only reason a midseason replacement is not a consideration is the lack of qualified replacements currently on the staff.
(Now why does that type of implosion seem vaguely familiar?)
The Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, are coming off of a huge come from behind dogfight win over a divisional rival they hadn't beaten in seven years. The Raiders have had their struggles this season, but unlike the past, they have not unraveled. They have stuck together and fought it out. There are none of the issues that usually begin to crop up around the Raiders by this time of year.
Add to the divergence between the teams is that it is the second shortest road game in the NFL, and they will be able to sleep in their own beds the night before. There will undoubtedly be a strong contingent from the Raider Nation to give the Silver and Black aid and comfort in enemy territory.
There is no earthly reason the Raiders should lose to the 49ers on Sunday, and that is precisely why it is an exceedingly dangerous game for the Raiders, especially considering the following game will be n Denver against their arch-rival Denver Broncos.
In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “Its a trap!”
The 49ers have absolutely nothing to lose. They are the wounded animal that can reach up and do serious damage, especially if the Raiders try to take them for granted. Their last two losses were by a combined less than a touchdown, and Mike Singletary will do what he can to rally the troops.
The Raiders recent history of games after wins only adds to the urgency that the Raiders don't look past the Niners. In week 2, the Raiders had a come from behind win over the St Louis Rams for their first win of the year. They followed that up with a horribly played game in Arizona against a Cardinals team they had absolutely no business losing to. However as Janikowski's 32 yard kick sailed wide, the Raiders had their sixth consecutive defeat following a loss.
In 2009, the situation was even more dismal. In games following a win, they not only lost, they lost big. The cumulative score of those games was a dismal 142-19. The closest was a 23-9 loss to the Cleveland Browns in week 16.
The last time the Raiders won consecutive games was weeks 16 & 17 of the 2008 season when they ended the playoff hopes of both the Houston Texans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the latter game sending Jon Gruden from the sidelines to the ESPN booth.
The Oakland Raiders should be able to dispatch the San Francisco 49ers and send them to their first 0-6 start since 1979 when they started 0-7. However, in order to do so, they cannot look past this game. They need to be laser focused on the Battle of Bay and get that win. Then they can turn their attention to Denver. If they start thinking about the Rocky Mountain Way they will derail after their biggest win in years.