While getting two Monday Night Football games made for an exciting night of football and betting, it would’ve been better if either of the games turned out competitive. The Ravens and Bengals were close for one half until Baltimore pulled away and pounded the Bengals to the tune of 44-13, proving why they can certainly be considered strong AFC and Super Bowl contenders.
You could argue that a score of 22-14 Chargers was a competitive game, but we beg to differ. The second half of MNF action was a disgrace. Though the score was close all throughout, it was more because of a litany of errors by the Raiders on offence, a strong Raider D, and/or a very vanilla Chargers offence.
I watched a lot of football this weekend and the Raiders ere by far one of the worst games/teams of the week. What last night proved was that Oakland still a long way to go before they can even be competitive in their own division. The thing is, we had high hopes for the Raiders coming into this game. The Chargers are perennially slow out of the gates and new Raider coach Dennis Allen had preached a more disciplined team for 2012.
Well it took all of one drive for that to unravel. Despite Oakland marching downfield pretty easily on their first drive into scoring position, rookie WR Rod Streater made a bone-headed decision to try and beat about five Charger defenders instead of going down, and ended up fumbling the ball and turning it over.
From that moment we had a sort of sinking feeling in the stomach that things could only get worse…. and oh boy worse they did.
The Raiders went on to botch a reverse, take personal foul penalties, false starts in their own building, offsides, and what turned out to be the story of the game, three muffed punts. The field tilted decidedly in San Diego’s favour when Raiders’ long snapper Jon Condo left the game with a head injury and his backup proceeded to roll two hikes into the dirt to the punter, and was part of the line that let Charger defenders run through to block a third.
Despite this, the Raiders’ D was actually very strong, holding San Diego to only field goals and keeping Oakland in the game. The problem was, Oakland’s offence was devoid of any serious threats, as the only play they had was runs and short dump off passes to Darren McFadden. McFadden looked good, and Palmer didn’t look bad, but overall the Raiders had no one capable of stretching the field and their offence quickly one-dimensional.
Until Oakland stops shooting themselves in the foot and gets some regulars back in the lineup, it’s clear to us that they won’t be a good bet unless they are playing an equally subpar opponent. Their defence will keep them in games but it won’t be enough against even marginal opponents.
The Raiders travel to Miami in Week 2 as three point favourites. If the line drops at all under three because sadly, they may actually be worth a look for the sole reason their D looked strong, while Miami showed nothing at all in their loss to Houston.