“3 Ingredient Fast & Easy Life Changing Nutella Brownies”

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 “3 Ingredient Fast & Easy Life Changing Nutella Brownies”

This should be in every single person, college age or teen’s cell phone for a quick and amazing dessert.

Mom need a break from the kids; or do you want to treat the kids? This ridiculously easy recipe is for you.

A sexy dessert for date night.

Lazy dad?   If you can’t make this, you should have to sleep on the couch. Make this for the woman you love and you can stay out of the dog house for at least a week.



1 1/4 cup (13 oz.) Nutella
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch (or 9×9) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, oil or butter.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into prepared dish and smooth top with spatula.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake, otherwise brownies will dry out. Let cool before cutting and serving.


-They are endless. Add nuts, coconut, carob or chocolate chips. How about white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate.

-Dried cranberries or cherries or blueberries? wow.

-Another amazing addition would be to add 2 TBSP of toffee on top or in the mix. You can even top with a little chocolate ganache (1/2 hot cream, 1/2 chocolate to melt)

-Put mini morsels of white and dark chocolate on top or even melt caramel on top. Or just sprinkle a dust of powder sugar.

-You can drizzle melted dark and white chocolate on top. ENDLESS IDEAS.

-If you like cake like brownies, add 1/2 tsp baking soda. (I like my brownies gooey and fudgie myself!)

-If you really want to be adventurous, add a small pinch of cayenne pepper for a naughty twinge on the back of your throat when you eat them. Use your imagination. Wow!

“We Fixed the Oakland Raiders Offense Yesterday; Now Let’s Fix the Defense”

Aldon Smith, Tyler Eifert
Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith (99) is blocked by Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Today we will look at the Raiders defense and see what needs to be done to make this a winning unit.

Last night when the New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills, you saw the power of a stud defensive line.  The Patriots were playing with third string players in some offensive positions but they still won.  The Patriots didn’t get a lot of sacks but the relentless pressure they put on Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was a key to that win.  Their cornerback’s are just alright but with a pass rush they become much better.

You don’t win on defense with a stud defensive backfield.  Seattle still has the best DB’s in the business but they are struggling in close games.  Why?  Teams now double team DL Michael Bennett and the other players on the line are not getting to the quarterback.

Lets look at recent NFL history.  Harbaugh’s 49ers; Seattle; Arizona; Carolina; New England; New York Giants Super Bowl years; what do these successful teams have in common?  STUD defensive lines that can control games.  The Giants beat the great Tom Brady because their DL dominated.  If you can rush the QB with only 4 players and stop the run, your defense alone can win games.  The Broncos offense is awful but their defensive line is really good.  Carolina’s DL literally controls the game while Cam Newton gets most of the publicity.  People forget the early games when he struggled.  If you have a really good defensive front, then you are going to straight up win in the NFL.  A good DL covers up a lot of issues.


I like Ken Norton Jr. and think he will do a good job.  He’s aggressive and has adapted more on a week to week basis than others have in the past.  He’s blitzed a lot more as the year went on and that is a good thing.  He is even blitzing DJ Hayden more which in the end somewhat hides him against the pass.  Not a dumb thing.

The defense has struggled for the most part and is near the bottom in some defensive categories against the pass.

Defensive Line:

If you want to turn your team around quickly, have a great DL that can rush the passer and stop the run.  The Raiders haven’t had that in years.  When you look at the Super Bowl wins for the Raiders, EVERY win was marked by dominating defensive front play literally beating up the opponents quarterback.

Khalil Mack is a really good NFL player but he’s not the superstar that the media tried to hype him to be.  He disappears in some games.  He was completely shut out in the Pittsburgh game, and against the Ravens and the Chargers, he had 3 tackles and no sacks combined.  Aldon Smith has been a solid player for the Raiders but it’s obvious he’s not the super talent that he was at San Francisco.  He played in the awesome 49er’s defense beside the great Justin Smith who got double teamed getting coffee.  Aldon is a good player and a keeper though and he is young.  The Raiders look like they will keep him which is a very smart thing.

Justin Ellis has had his moments but none of the other DL have shown they are starting NFL material.  Some are trying to hype Mario Edwards but I’m not buying it yet.  He may end up being good but he has a long way to go.  Getting NFL rookie of the week when you are on a DL that gave up 269 yards rushing against Minnesota isn’t exactly epic material.  The Raiders DL need to make plays at the line of scrimmage and not down the field.

Dan Williams has really been good against the run but he’s often seeing double teams now so the others need to step up.  Williams also is a bad pass rusher so he’s limited.

The Jets have a mess on their DL for next year.  DE Muhammad Wilkerson is a really a good player and he said he’s tired of getting underpaid and nose tackle/tackle Damon Harrison is another good player that may be available if the Jet’s don’t resign him.  They need to spend a lot of money and they can’t keep them all.  Add a DE to play until Smith gets back, and then when Smith gets back move Mack to LB.  Michael Bennett is still wanting out of Seattle after his walkout and he could be had with a trade.  There are not many players in the NFL as disruptive as Bennett.  He has a mean streak that is missing in Oakland.

In the end the Raiders need a tackle that can stop the run and rush the passer.  They may not be able to get any of the top players but there are those that can help immediately.


This group also struggles at times because most of them have weaknesses.  Curtis Lofton is good against the run but bad against the pass.  He has improved some, but Malcolm Smith is good against the pass but bad against the run.  Ben Heeney has had to play and to be honest I loved watching him in college.  Unfortunately he’s not a good tackler and he struggles in the passing game.  In fact in his final year at Kansas he lead the nation in missed tackles.  He’s not a starter but great off the bench or in special teams.  Moving Mack back to LB immediately helps this group.

They need Mack back there to help them out but with Aldon Smith out, the Raiders are kind of stuck right now.  Lofton needs to be moved but the Raiders can’t afford the cap hit to let him go.  He’s probably here for 1 more year.

I’m not a Ray Ray Armstrong fan; I think he’s not a really good starter.  There are solid CB’s and LB’s in next years draft but to rely on a rookie is risky.  The Raiders linebackers have been somewhat disappointing and they are handcuffed by contracts somewhat but they still can upgrade in free agency.

Defensive Backs:

The Raiders defensive backs have struggled.  Woodsen struggled early guarding tight ends but he has rebounded.  He’s taken a beating this year though and his days are numbered.  Nate Allen hasn’t played much this year and he had issue’s tackling Sunday.  The DJ Hayden experiment will be over at the end of the year.  He’s just not a starting NFL CB.  David Amerson has had his good moments but he’s a nickel back at best.  TJ Carrie looked better at safety than he did at cornerback and I would move him there.  I like Carrie and think he can excel there.

The Raiders first round pick will probably be a cornerback or a safety.  They also will need to find a CB in free agency.  When the defensive line can’t get a pass rush, it’s hard to watch this defensive backfield struggle.


The Raiders are fine at kicker and punter.  Marquette King is solid and a positive influence and Sebastian Janikowski is fine.  He will have his bad moments but for the most part he’s very good.


People got carried away when the Raiders won a few games.  I saw people predicting 10-6 to 12-4 and post season glory.  It’s hard to beat down on people that want to be so positive, but it was pie in the sky.  There are still issues in Oakland.  The Raiders have a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr and that is half of the battle.

At the start of the year I said that the Raiders would be 8-8 and they are going to have to go 4-2 the rest of the year to get to that.  They also have some tough games ahead.  I don’t think people should lose their minds if the Raiders lose but you have to be real at some point.  If you are a good team you win.  It’s really not that hard.

Moral victories are for elementary school plays, rehabbing from an injury, and pee wee soccer games.  They have had time to rebuild this team and they need to start winning.  The Raiders have improved and that is encouraging but being 4-6 when the AFC and the AFC West is so bad is a head scratcher.  Some are still talking playoffs and to be honest it’s kind of embarrassing to think they may go to the post season only because the rest of the league is so bad.

The Raiders have made it an art form on talking about what might happen in the future but they need to deal with the reality of the situation.  They are 4-6, with a defense that has struggled this year; especially against the pass; and an offense that has scored in only 2 of the last 8 quarters.  Tough decisions are ahead.

For many it’s time to be honest and go old school and bring back the days when losing was unacceptable.  With the salary cap, the Raiders will never be the juggernaut they were in the 1970’s and 80’s but there is no excuse for not being a competitive team year in and year out.  Support and nurture those players that are a part of the solution, and move on from the players that aren’t.  Time will tell if the Raiders can turn this thing around and Mark Davis, GM Reggie McKenzie & the Raiders players are on the hot seat.  No matter what happens this year, if the Raiders do not go to the playoffs next year, they need to get people in the front office and players on the field that can make it happen.

After losing to Detroit, Real Answers on How to Make the Raiders Elite Again”


After losing 18-13 to the Detroit Lions yesterday , the Oakland Raiders need to do some soul searching. It’s time to get down and dirty and see what needs to happen for the Raiders to be an elite team in the NFL.  Today lets look at the front office and the offense.

A Different Era:

Many experts are kind of shaking their heads at how bad the NFL has become.   The salary cap has created parity alright; now most teams aren’t good.

The days of the super teams are over and to get good in the NFL doesn’t take as much as people think.

Let’s look at the Raiders from the top on down to see what is happening and what should happen.


It’s not his fault but Mark Davis is not his dad. He got an NFL team because he inherited it. Unfortunately just like 49er head Jed York, I think at times he is way in over his head. Many media outlets say he is the main reason the NFL isn’t too thrilled about the Raiders going to Carson.

I’m also sick of the Raiders stadium issue. I go by a man’s actions and not by what they say and his actions say I want out of Oakland while his words say I want to stay. I’m not a fan of his but you can’t change the owner.   He has though for the most part stayed out of the way of the football operations which is smart on his part.

If I’m Mark Davis I have a big meeting with GM Reggie McKenzie and the coaching staff. I say these things. “If we don’t make the playoffs by next year, I’m paying you off and letting you go.   If we don’t win a playoff game within 2 years I’m letting you all go. Anything less is unacceptable. In that time I will listen to you and do what I can to support you in any way but mediocrity and losing doesn’t live here anymore. Just win baby is what my dad lived by and it’s what we are going to live by. It’s not a corny phrase it’s a way of life.  Nothing less is acceptable.”

General Manager:

For most Oakland Raider fans, there is no middle ground and they either hate or love Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. Some are just allergic to saying anything bad about the players and they blame it all on the GM, and some sing his praises saying he’s been an amazing GM fixing the Raiders salary cap hell and bringing them to respectability again.

I’m in the middle. He’s done some nice things with Carr, Mack, Jackson, Crabtree, Williams and others.   Donald Penn was considered somewhat washed up and he picked him up and he’s resurrected his career. His drafts have been brutal at times but he’s also had some great picks that are creating a good foundation for the future. For every Dan Williams though there are the Lamarr Woodley’s.

For example one mistake for sure was drafting DJ Hayden. DL Star Lotulelei dropped into their lap and they went with Hayden. Star now is a key player on the best DL in the NFL in Carolina.  I had to drink two extra Bass and 4 extra Guinness beers due to this draft pick.  (Ok well that’s what I told my girlfriend at the time).


People that follow me know I’m very lukewarm on Jack Del Rio as head coach.   I think he’s had limited success as a coach in his career.   He is a good motivator and a good football man but I think to get to the next level, I’m not sure he can do it.

I was TOTALLY against offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave who has had very little true success in his almost 2 decade career. He is just way too conservative for my taste, especially in the second half of games. Teams are now protecting against the deep ball against the Raiders and they still haven’t had many adjustments. You also have to put some blame on QB Derek Carr. In the end he’s the captain of the ship and he can change the play at any time but he doesn’t.

I love what Mike Tice has done to the offensive line and Ken Norton Jr. will be good in time. I like him and his aggressive style but the Raiders defense isn’t that talented.


I like Derek Carr and when he was drafted I was singing his praises. Derek Carr is going to be a solid NFL quarterback for years to come.  He has limitations though.

Lately the Raiders have struggled.  The Raiders have only scored in 2 of the last 8 quarters.  He still struggles with a rush and as long as the OL gives him a lot of time, he can dissect any defense. If you get in his face though, he’s a totally different quarterback. He also does not audible much.

People will say,”but his stats against a blitz are among the top 10 in the NFL”.  So what.   If the blitz is picked up; which usually is by the Raiders stud OL with the help of Lee Smith and their running backs; then of course the QB will do well. Many of these stats that people like to use don’t tell the whole story but they are used to try and prove points that they agree with.

The Lions did what the Vikings did and played a lot more cover 2, or 2 high or Tampa 2 or whatever you want to call it. That’s when your safeties play back to guard against the deep ball. As announcers Steve Beurlin and Steve Tasker brought up a couple of times, the stats for the Raiders medium passing game are near the bottom of the NFL. So far the Raiders aren’t adjusting to what defenses are doing.

Carr doesn’t audible much which is puzzling. If the safeties are back for the long ball, audible and change the play to a running play because the defense now has only 9 players to stop the run. If they play up; which at times Detroit did on first down protecting against the run; then do a play action pass and throw deep.

On twitter at half time I said that. Detroit was guarding against the run on 1st down.  “On the first play, do a play action pass and throw deep and then go no huddle.” The Raiders did do a play action pass and low and behold they completed a 43 yard pass play. You throw deep to do two things; try to complete a deep ball AND to stretch the defense and keep them honest knowing you have the threat of the long ball. When you don’t throw the long ball, the DB’s creep up and it makes running the ball harder, and it takes away a key cog in your arsenal.

Like most college spread QB’s they are wide receiver happy. Carr has to look for his tight ends more. He threw to tight ends only 4 times against Detroit, completing 2 of those passes.

Again, I like Carr but he still is in his second year and is learning.

Offensive Line:

The Raiders offensive line is really good and one of the top ones in the NFL. What they need though is depth.   If center Rodney Hudson, Donald Penn or Gabe Jackson goes down, the level of play drops. The Raiders have been lucky that for the most part they have been healthy. Menelik Watson will be back next year and that should help. Look at the Vikings; they’ve lost 3 starting OL. Mike Tice has also been a good influence. I like this group a lot.

Running Back:

No changes needed.  The Raiders should stick with this group.  They are good and don’t cost a lot.  I don’t think Latavius Murray is a work horse that can carry it 25-30 times a game but he’s good as a starter. Bring in the very underrated Jamize Olawale who I think could start on some teams. Add Marcel Reece with an occasional carry and this is a very solid group. The Raiders running backs are good blockers when they are called to help with blitzes.

I am still disappointed though that Roy Helu Jr. doesn’t get more touches. I think the Raiders are not using him properly. He’s as solid as it gets and he’s having a rough time getting on the field in passing downs where he excels. I would love to see him in no huddle situations.

Wide Receivers:

The Raiders are going to have to break the bank a bit to keep Michael Crabtree.   Crabtree on purpose signed a one year deal for less money in the hopes he’d rebound and then he’d sign a big long term deal in the off season. It’s not for sure that the Raiders can keep him. Crabtree is a loner type and money and appreciation is something he will want.   He is probably their best receiver.   Amari Cooper will be a very good pro despite having a bad game.

I’m not a big fan of Seth Roberts and would rather play Andre Holmes who to me has a lot more talent. The Raiders will need to keep Crabtree or this could get ugly.  Please no more Calvin Johnson talk.  He doesn’t have that epic burst anymore and the Raiders need young speed.  I LOVE Johnson and actually wanted him or my favorite college player since Billy Simms; Adrian Peterson; to be drafted by the Raiders but we know where that went.  Jamarcus Russell. sigh.

Tight Ends:

Mychal Rivera and Clive Walford have done a nice job for the Raiders.   Problem is the Raiders offense is just not a tight end offense. Lee Smith never gets credit but he’s the best blocking tight end in the business and was a great pick up. I say stick with these guys but start throwing to them more. Without a medium passing game, you are not going to do well consistently on offense.

Against the Vikings, Rivera caught 6 passes for 46 yards. Against the Lions, he was only thrown to twice and caught one for 21 yards. Walford only had 2 passes thrown to him all game and he caught one. For the entire game you only throw to your tight ends 4 times and you are a passing team? That’s not going to win you games.


Tomorrow we will look at the defense.

“Can the Run Defense Bounce Back and Who Will Win; The Minnesota Vikings v.s. Oakland Raiders”


Week 10 Preview Minnesota Vikings (6-2) v.s. Oakland Raiders (4-4):

11/15/15, 1:15 PM (PST) @ O.Co Coliseum, Oakland, California

Fox TV


Thoughts and prayers to Fred McNeill and his family and friends.  A former UCLA and Minnesota Viking great at linebacker, who later became an attorney.  He had suffered several severe concussions as a player which were documented on television and video interviews.  The book, “League of Denial” was greatly inspired by his story.

He got ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease; which destroys the body and he also had dementia which destroys the mind. He eventually died yesterday from complications of it.  He was the first to ever block a Ray Guy punt.  It was in the Super Bowl loss to the Raiders. A big loss to the NFL community and the people of Minnesota. 



The name Minnesota Vikings is like sweet music to most Raider fans ears.  Thoughts of Ken Stabler floating passes through the Purple People eaters. Bill King in classic form using words the rest of the country had never heard of.   Jack Tatum’s demolishing hit on Vikings WR Sammy White while bringing home a Super Bowl trophy are sweet memories indeed.

Now its 2015 and the Vikings come into Oakland for a key game for both teams.  In an interesting match-up, the Minnesota Vikings come in with an impressive 6-2 record.  But let’s look at it closer and see who the upcoming opponent of the Raiders really is.

As Good as Their Record?: 

Friends and followers in Minnesota have beaten on me pretty good on twitter for not getting on the Viking band wagon and believing they are a really good team.  Let’s look at the reasons why I haven’t.


As time marches on, the number of quality teams in the NFL gets smaller.  For 2015, you see it especially in the AFC.  The NFL is getting what they want with the salary cap; parity; or mediocrity if you want to be honest.  The Raiders have had a fairly easy schedule so far, but the Vikings have had an easier one.  Minnesota has two wins over a terrible Detroit Lions team, and have also played Chicago, San Diego, Kansas City, and the 49ers.

In reality they have faced only 2 teams this year with a winning record; Denver and St. Louis; and they are 1-1 with a victory at home in OT over the Rams last week.  The Raiders have played 4 teams with a winning record and are 1-3.


To be fair, no team in the NFL has been beaten up by injuries like the Vikings.  They have a lot of young talent but they are hurting.  They have lost 3 of their starting offensive linemen for the year including stud tackle Phil Loadholt, and fellow tackle Carter Bykowski.  Quality center John Sullivan was supposed to return this week after spinal surgery to begin the year but he has undergone another procedure and he probably is out for the season.  Few teams could overcome this.

To their credit a patchwork offensive line has held their own but they have struggled in the passing game at times.  Teddy Bridgewater had a nice rookie campaign but I’m not impressed by him like others are.  His delivery is painfully slow and he needs a lot of time in the pocket to be successful.  If you rush him and decrease his time, he struggles.

At times he looks like he’s playing chess when going through his progressions.  He just takes too long, a lot like 49er QB Colin Kaepernick.  In the Denver game he struggled a lot by not getting rid of the ball faster.  He is just too slow in the pocket for my taste.  Adrian Peterson off the field may not be man of the year but on the field he remains one of the great running backs of this era.

The surprise of the year in the NFL may be fifth round draft choice Stefon Diggs.  He’s been a breakout player at wide receiver who has shown game breaking speed and the ability to make big plays.


Again, it’s hard to measure how good this defense is because they have played such an easy schedule.  The Vikings are known as a good group of tacklers though with athletic linebackers.  Noseguard/Tackle Linval Joseph is playing great football this year and is coming off an amazing 10 tackle 1/2 sack effort against the Rams earning him defensive player of the week honors.

Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are expected to play but both are coming off injuries.  They are athletic, physical and good tacklers when healthy.  DT Sharrif Floyd comes back from missing 3 games and he said he’s ready to go.  Their defensive front seven is good when healthy.

The Vikings CB’s are healthy and they have good depth there but no one that wows you.  They have their own Charles Woodsen in highly decorated 37 y/o Terence Newman who has had another solid season.

Run Defense Struggles Against the Steelers; Will They Continue Against Minnesota?:

The Raiders run defense was shredded for 195 yards last week against the Pittsburgh Steeler’s and there was a partial reason to it that is easily seen.

First, give them credit; the Pittsburgh Steeler offensive line is a top OL in the NFL.  Other things are important to note though.

Nate Allen coming back at safety is huge.  Some didn’t like the signing but I thought he played pretty well.  Now the Raiders can move TJ Carrie to cornerback.  The Raiders cornerbacks have been shredded for big chunks of yardage for most of the year and struggled even with TJ Carrie playing; but he was an upgrade.

People no longer use Pro Football Focus stats to prove why DJ Hayden is really not that bad because EVEN THEY now get that he isn’t good.  Oakland is now last in passing yards given up per game, and 23rd in sacks, and 30th in total yards per game.

With the CB’s struggles, the Raiders safeties are having to be supermen and stay back to help the corners against the deep ball.  Hopefully with better play from TJ Carrie at corner, the Raiders safeties wont have to help out as much and can make some tackles in the run game.  Against Pittsburgh, if they’d run up to stop the run and it was a play action pass, the corners would now be in a one on one situation and they could not guard the Steelers quality pass catchers.

Ben Roethlesberger missed Pittsburgh WR Antonio Bryant on a long ball by 5 yards where he beat DJ Hayden, and Martavis Bryant just flat out dropped a long ball against David Amerson.  If you add those 2 plays the Steelers would have had over 700 yards total offense; IN ONE GAME; and would have won going away!

Minnesota’s line is relying on backups and rookie TJ Cummings at tackle and I see the Raiders playing well against them.  Cummings will have to block Khalil Mack who has had his struggles.  He was completely shut out against the Steelers and he’s had games against Baltimore and San Diego where he had 1 and 2 tackles with no sacks respectively.  A total of 3 tackles in 12 quarters of football isn’t getting it done.  If he struggles against this rookie, then something isn’t right.  I see him having a big day though.

The Raiders will win if:

DEFENSE:  PASS RUSH PASS RUSH PASS RUSH.  The Raiders cornerbacks are not going to all of a sudden be good.  They are who they are.   TJ Carrie helps this struggling unit but he’s not a world beater.  They still need a pass rush.

I watch every Raiders game twice (thank you DVR) and metric sites kept saying the Raiders had several pressures against Ben Roethlesberger and I’m kind of wondering what game they watched.  I mean was it peer pressure or atmospheric pressure, because it sure wasn’t quarterback pressure.  Roethlesberger was off at times and still threw for over 300 yards in 3 quarters and the Raiders gave up almost 400 yards passing.  If they had so many pressures, I’d hate to see when the pass rush struggles.  Roethlesberger had good time to throw all game and so did Landry Jones.  Aldon Smith had the only sack and knocked Ben out of the game.

Nate Allen coming back is a great help.  The Raiders are going to need at least the free safety to stay back at times though to protect against Stefon Diggs and the long ball.

I personally think they will do much better against the run with Peterson struggling at times during the game.  Even if he does get 100 yards, I think it’s going to take a whole lot of carries.

OFFENSE:  Derek Carr is having a great year and it’s fun to watch such a quality person do so well.  Let’s also look at other things though.  Put an average NFL QB behind a good offensive line and he will be good.  Put a good NFL QB behind a good offensive line and he will be really good.  Derek Carr is having a great year but the Raiders offensive line in my mind is the second best in the NFL behind the Patriots OL and possibly the Steelers. They are a nice part of that success.

Derek Carr has gone through games WHERE HE WAS NOT TOUCHED and the Raiders have given up only 10 sacks in 8 games which is 2nd in the NFL.  The Steelers threw some complex blitzes at the Raiders and they did a great job against them.  Lee Smith is the best blocking TE in the NFL and he’s also helped out at times in the passing game as well as the running game.  Add an occasional pass catch and he’s been very underrated.  When you watch the game, sometimes just watch the offensive line and see how they do.  You will be pleasantly surprised.

Add the fact that even with his ups and downs, Latavius Murray is the 2nd leading rusher in the AFC.  Derek Carr isn’t blocking for Murray, so you see what kind of year the Raiders offensive line is having.  Friends laughed at me at our annual draft party a while back when I was so happy that guard Gabe Jackson was drafted by the Raiders in the 3rd round.  They don’t laugh anymore.  This Raiders OL is young (except for Donald Penn) and physical and I love watching them play.  (I need to get over it but I still can’t believe how far Jackson dropped in the draft.)

The Vikings are banged up and I see the Raiders playing well against them.  I don’t like their DB’s as much as other people do but I do like their front 7 when healthy; they aren’t healthy though.  Unfortunately the Raiders may be without center Rodney Hudson who hasn’t practiced this week and that could be a big factor.  People are now leaning on him missing this game.  Tony Bergstrom would get the call and Joseph; a key former Giants Super Bowl winning defensive lineman; is a bear to block.

Running the ball wont be easy against the Vikings interior line but they will be vulnerable to the pass with their LB’s hobbling and I see another good day for Carr and the Raiders.  Look for the Raider running backs and tight ends to do well.


You have to give it up for the Vikings.  Raider backers are biting their nails about center Rodney Hudson missing time due to injury, but the Vikings have lost 3 OL starters for the year and have still done well.  They also have struggled with injuries on the other side of the ball but have managed to get a 6-2 record.  With them playing a weak schedule and their division being a mess, I think they are a little overrated but the Vikings could make the playoffs.

My take on them is that they are an up and coming team with good talent but a lot of injuries.  They are also playing mostly against bad teams.  I think they are a little overrated and their year will be next year.  I don’t like Bridgewater that much and his painfully slow release either.  He has to have a lot of time in the pocket to succeed and in today’s NFL, that is a lot of pressure to put on your offensive line.  Healthy, their OL could pull it off possibly but not with 3 starters out.

Some on the east coast are asking why the Vikings are the underdog but I’m not.  I see the Raiders winning this one pulling away.   P.S. For amusement only, yes I like the over (44 points).

Final Score:  Raiders 31

                      Vikings 20

“Still Some Good Things Seen in Loss To Denver; Raiders v.s. Denver Broncos Grades.”

Charles Woodsen Picks Off Peyton Manning

Final Oakland Raider Grades @ home v.s. Denver Broncos; Week 5:

Denver Broncos 16 (5-0)

Oakland Raiders 10 (2-3)

I know some will say, “The Raiders only scored one TD and 10 points at home and they lost so how are things so good genius”.  In reality though there were some good things seen and with a bye week to get healthy, the Raiders need to work on their issues and grow from their strengths.


Derek Carr showed a lot of leadership with his post interviews with the local media talking about the pick 6 that sealed the win for Denver. He talked about the pass rush coming onto him quicker than expected and he rushed his throw to the WR who weren’t ready.  “I take accountability for my mistakes and I need to and will keep improving”. He said often that he will look at the tape and that he handles every game and every success and failure the same. I was very impressed. Carr’s two turnovers were key in the game though and the hopes are that he will learn from this.

After beating Austin Howard bad, Von Miller just took the ball away from Carr deep in Oakland territory. You’d hope that on the open side that Carr could see him coming but he didn’t and Miller just grabbed the ball from him.  It changed the momentum of the game and was a key play.

For the most part Carr held his own against Denver with a nice drive in the first half which ended with a 3 yard TD pass to Marcel Reece after an aggressive drive.

The Denver pass rush wore down the Raiders and their QB in the second half though. Denver had 3 sacks in the second half and Carr looked more uncomfortable in the pocket in the 3rd and 4th quarter.

The conservative play calling in the second half was noticeable; again.   The Raiders have to open it up more especially against a good defense like Denver.


Other than the pick 6 and the take away by Von Mller which changed the momentum of the game, Carr didn’t play bad. You have to get on him and OC Bill Musgrave though for another week of conservative play calling in the second half.

Running Backs:

I’ve been saying it all year, the Raiders are not sold on Latavius Murray at running back. For the second game in a row, Murray did not see the field late in the game and he was not injured.

I still think Marcel Reece needs to split time with Murray and then have Roy Helu spell them.

Predictably, the Raiders running game was limited against a tough Broncos run defense. Marcel Reece had 7 catches for 49 yards and a TD.   Murray and Helu Jr. added 3 more catches each but for only 30 yards.

Grade C

Murray again was on the bench during crunch time. Marcel Reece needs to get some carries in the backfield, again only getting 1 for 6 yards. All of the running backs were involved in the Raiders conservative passing game.

Offensive Line:

The OL for the most part held their own. Denver’s pass rush in the second half wore down the Raiders and obviously bothered Derek Carr in the second half. Denver took away the run game which they’ve done all season.

In the first half the Raiders controlled the pass rush and they moved the ball between the 20’s. The Raiders struggled with sustained drives all day though. The left side of the Raiders line played well. Gabe Jackson, Donald Penn and Rodney Hudson are becoming a fine trio but Austin Howard struggled all day with Von Miller.

In the second half, Denver had 3 sacks and it was obvious the Broncos pass rush wore them down a bit.

Grade C+

Even though Ware was hurt for most of the game, the Raiders took the Broncos best shot and didn’t do too bad.   It was a good measuring stick.   The Raiders left side is set; the right side had a rough game.

Wide Receivers:

The Raiders didn’t go deep to Cooper until near the end of the game and it was in desperation. Cooper was double teamed and drew a pass interference penalty. The Raiders have to throw it downfield 2-3 times a game to Cooper. Cooper and Crabtree both had 4 catches each for a combined 101 yards.

Seth Roberts is in no way a #3 WR and he should not be playing over Andre Holmes.

The Broncos have good safeties and cornerbacks so if you add a stud pass rush, you are going to take away the WR which Denver did.


It’s frustrating to see such a conservative offense AGAIN in the second half. Don’t expect this to change. Carr doesn’t audible much and Del Rio and Musgrave are long time conservative coaches.

Tight Ends:

The Raiders had a Clive Walford sighting who was wide open on a 31 yard pass play.  It was his only catch of the day though.  Mychal Rivera had 3 catches for 33 yards.  Unfortunately they still are invisible in the red zone and they would help greatly finishing off drives instead of just settling for field goals.


They just aren’t a big part of the offense and the tight end would be so helpful in the red zone.

Defensive Line:

Some of the major networks thought it would be cool to use stats by Pro Football Focus to see how smart and innovative they are. The funniest question of the day was on twitter with a Denver fan after the Raiders game who asked PFF, “You have our starting guards with very high grades and our tackles with positive grades. How then did we not score a TD or sustain a drive against Oakland and only run for 43 yards at 2.4 yards per carry?”. I have that same question.  Liars use stats, and stats often lie.

The defensive line played well.   Denver’s offensive line is struggling with injuries and just isn’t getting it done. The Raiders stopped the run and put pressure on Manning who did not look very good at times. With often double teams on Dan Williams, Mack, and Smith at times, Justin Tuck and Mario Edwards were let free and both played well. Tuck left the game with an injury.

Grade: B+

A couple of more sacks would have been nice but for the most part the Raiders DL did a nice job and it helped the defensive backs. Stop the run and rush the passer with 4 players and for the most part they did that.


The Raiders LB’s were active all day and did a great job against the run. The Raiders put LB Neiron Ball on Broncos tight end Owen Daniels and for the most part it was a good move.

Grade B

A nice game by the LB’s.   The hopes are that against a better offense that the quality play will continue.

Defensive Backs:

Charles Woodsen still has the best hands of any defensive back in the NFL. There is a reason Michigan used him at WR back in the day. He had his first and second ever interception against Peyton Manning who’s balls just floated at times.

The best safety tandem for Oakland is Charles Woodsen and T.J. Carrie. With LB Neiron Ball covering the Broncos TE, it allowed Woodsen to be more acting and free wheeling in the passing game.

The Raiders CB’s still struggled giving up 14 catches to the Broncos #1 and #2 WR for 166 yards but thankfully for the Raiders they did not give up a touchdown.

Grade B-  

The pass rush definitely helped this group and the safeties played well with them being freed up from covering the #1 TE. The CB’s had good and bad moments but they didn’t give up a big TD which helped keep the Raiders close.


The second half play calling always is more conservative than the first half and for the most part this is why the Raiders stats are worse after half time.

The Raiders again went to a conservative game plan in the second half. They didn’t air out the ball to Cooper until the very end. Carr did not want to make a mistake but at times you just have to air it out. The Raiders offense again was mostly hoping for a TD but settling for a FG and that can’t happen. You have to be more aggressive and go for touchdowns.

The Raiders put LB Neiron Ball on the TE and he did a good job in coverage and it freed up the safeties. It will be interesting to see if he continues to play well against a better offense.

I liked Marcel Reece getting more involved in the passing game but I’d still like him to get 5-10 carries a game at RB. He’s a great weapon that can’t be wasted.

Grade C+

They did a few good adjustments but not throwing deep to Cooper 2-3 times a game is a big mistake.

Special Teams:

To his credit; just like Derek Carr; Sebastian Janikowski had no excuses for his 1 for 3 field goal day.   Marquette King had a big day averaging 52 yards on 4 punts, helping the Raiders in a field possession game. The return game wasn’t a big factor.

Grade C+

King had a great day; the return game wasn’t much of a factor and Janikowski had a really bad day on a day when they really needed him.


It’s not a bad loss and it was a winnable game. The Raiders have now played 2 good teams and lost both of those games at home.   They’ve played 3 bad ones and are 2-1 in those. Right now the Raiders are 2-3 and I still think they are on their way to an 8-8 season.   They are improving, but from the coaching staff to the players they need to be more aggressive in the 2nd half and stop their conservative play calling and play.

Next Opponent:   after a bye week; San Diego Chargers (2-2); playing @ home against the Pittsburgh Steelers 2-2 tonight)


The Chargers defense has struggled at times and I see this being a high scoring game.

The Chargers so far this year have lost to the Bengals and Vikings on the road and have beaten the Browns and Lions at home. San Diego is again a pass heavy team and is below average in the running game.   Antonio Gates returns from his month long suspension due to PED’s tonight, and he has had some great games against the Raiders.  The Chargers OL has struggled for much of the year and should be a good matchup for the Raiders.

This is why stats are so misleading sometimes and sites like Pro Football Focus miss the mark. PFF showed many stats on why the NY Giants were so great against the run. Well they are #1 against the run because no one runs on them; they don’t need to because the Giants are so bad in pass defense. The conservative 49ers just ran for 124 rushing yards against the Giants last night at almost 5 yards per carry. Along with that, NY made Colin Kaepernick to look good which takes effort.   Some people are saying that the Chargers are good against the pass but this same mentality can be seen with them because they are not.

They have struggled mightily stopping the run so some of their high ratings on defense against the pass are misleading. This defense is not very good and the Raiders should do a physical run game plan along with some quick hitting passes which have really hurt the Chargers this year.

The AFC West is down this year and with all everything RB Jamaal Charles now out for the year for Kansas City, games against the Chiefs and Chargers are very winnable. I look for another good game between the improved Raiders and the Chargers in San Diego in two weeks with the Raiders having a good chance to get back to .500.

“Quick Pre-Game Keys on How the Raiders Can Beat The Denver Broncos”

denver at oakland

“How the Oakland Raiders can beat the Denver Broncos This Sunday”

This Sunday the Raiders will again play with a potential playoff team in the Denver Broncos. Lets look at the truth about both teams and see what needs to be done for a Raiders win to happen.

Denver Broncos:

DEFENSE: (#1 in sacks, #2 in points allowed)

The Broncos went back to what made them really good at defense; stop the run and rush the passer. Their front 7 does a great job at both.

Demarcus Ware and Von Miller get all of the publicity and credit, but they are much more than that. Their LB’s are active and aggressive and athletic.

What makes the Broncos defense so good is that they also are aggressive and mix up blitzes. In the final drive against the Vikings last week, the Broncos blitzed almost every play.   They caused a fumble and won the game; the Raiders in contrast blitzed once in the Bears final drive; and it was more of a controlled blitz; and they lost. The Broncos front 4 can get pressure on the QB and the Raiders front 4 is still finding their way.

Safety T.J. Ward had 6 tackles and 2 sacks on blitzes against Minnesota and was voted defensive player of the week. Add good corner backs and this is a solid defense.

OFFENSE: (24th passing, 27th rushing)

On offense the Broncos glaringly are not the same. They are the 24th ranked passing offense in yards and the 27th rushing offense. Why are they struggling? Their offensive line is the worst its been in years.

Peyton Manning has gone months without a sack at times in his career, constantly playing for a great offensive line. This year it is different and he’s struggling. If you rush Manning, he will make mistakes which is seen by his losing record in the post season. If the Raiders front 4 can’t get a pass rush on Manning and they HAVE TO blitz more often, this may be a long day in Oakland.

The lack of quality OL play has also hurt their run game. CJ Anderson was thought to have a possible great year, only to be limited by injury and lack of success.

The Broncos offense has been bailed out often with great field position that the Denver defense gives them. Right now the Broncos offense is average at best, but their recent and past success against Oakland should keep the Raiders from thinking too much into that.

Oakland Raiders:

DEFENSE: (29th in total yards, 31st passing yards)

 I just read a publication with a popular national Raiders writer who just said the Raiders had a good defensive backfield and are tough to pass against.   He got 500 likes. I’m sorry but I’d like to think my readers are smarter than that and I was taught not to lie.

The Raiders pass defense is 31st in the NFL. The last 3 teams the Raiders have played have a combined record of 3-9. They aren’t exactly playing playoff teams and remember that Green Bay and Pittsburgh are still ahead for the Raiders.

T.J. Carrie has played mostly safety the last 2 games and he played fairly well. He’s hurting with an arm/chest injury and is a game time decision. The Raiders safeties are a walking wounded. Their corners have just been torched for most of the year.   D.J. Hayden had another bad game but on the bright side, David Amerson played somewhat well even though he was beat bad on a long pass. Yes I’m reaching when I’m looking at a released player from Washington as being the bright spot.

 Curtis Lofton, Dan Williams and Justin Tuck have helped the run defense.   They have been better than in the past but have still had their mild struggles.

The Raiders LB’s all have a weakness and a strength. Lofton is great against the run but bad against the pass. Malcolm Smith is a good blitzer and good against the pass but terrible against the run. Ray Ray Armstrong in my mind is more of a back up than a starter. This is why letting Sio Moore go still puzzles me.

Kahlil Mack and Aldon Smith both played well last week. On the last drive though the Raiders rushed 4 players on the Bears and they only got mild pressure on Jay Cutler though and that is a concern. If you have to blitz to get a pass rush, then your pass rushers are not all that. They have to be more consistent. A blitz should be used to enhance your pass rush like Denver does; not create one because you can’t put pressure on the QB without it.

OFFENSE: (11th in passing, 4th in rushing yards/attempt)

The Raiders offense was not running on all cylinders last week but overall they’ve improved greatly over last year. They are ranked 11th in scoring and 11th in passing yards. They are now ranked 4th in rushing yards per attempt and the offensive line has played much better than expected.

The thing that was puzzling last week was that in the second half, the Raiders ran on almost every 1st down play; something they did often last year.   They were conservative and predictable and it showed. If you are a good team you go after your opponent, you don’t play not to lose.   The Raiders struggle running the ball when they are predictable. Raiders OC Bill Musgrave and head coach Jack Del Rio have long been considered conservative coaches.

Chicago kept Amari Cooper somewhat quiet after a touchdown pass but Michael Crabtree had another good game. He has been a great pickup and his toughness was shown when his leg was rolled up on, but he came back into the game. Roy Helu has also been a nice player and Marcel Reece; when they let him touch the ball; shines as always in the passing game. I would put him at RB at times but that’s another story.

How Can the Raiders Win:


Bill Belichick and the Patriots were the ones that showed teams how to beat Peyton Manning; rush the QB and have your corners and safeties up on the WR for the quick pass. The Raiders HAVE to get to Peyton Manning with their front four, and then use the blitz at times to really rush him. Manning will make mistakes. If you HAVE TO blitz to rush manning, it will be a long day.

With the rule changes, CB are more reluctant to play up on players but the Raiders have to do it. If they can control the Denver running game; which they haven’t for a long time; they can make the Broncos predictable and limit their passing game.


The Broncos defense is really playing well. They scored the winning TD in a big win at Kansas City, and they dominated the Lions and Ravens. They have been the main reason for their 4-0 start.

The Raiders are not going to run on this defense much. What they need to do is think of them as the Ravens. Play action pass on 1st down with quick 3 and 5 step drop passes, slants. They need to mix in passes to the TE and RB coming out of the backfield.

What the Raiders do on 1st down will be the key. If they just run off tackle on first down all the time on this defense, they will lose. They gave up too many downs in the Chicago game. Second and long against Chicago is one thing; second and long against Denver is much worse.

If they can be successful on first down then you mix in the run which then can make a difference. If Carr doesn’t have a big game, I don’t see the Raiders winning.


The Raiders have played 3 teams with a combined record of 3-9 and were 2-1.   They played a 4-0 team in Cincinnati and were dominated. They say you don’t know how good you are until you play a good team on the road. The Raiders really don’t have a tough game on the road until later in the season at Pittsburgh. This is a big game for this early season. The Raiders do not match up well against Denver but with their struggling offense and with the right scheme against their defense, this is a winnable game at home in the comfortable confines of Oakland.

“Raiders on the Right Track Even with Setback Loss To Chicago”

raiders bears

Final Oakland Raider Grades @ Chicago Bears; Week 4:

Chicago Bears 22 (1-3)

Oakland Raiders 20 (2-2)

Two steps forward, one step back. The Raiders took a step backwards with a bad loss to the Chicago Bears on the road. The Bears last win was on November 23, 2014 against Tampa Bay.   Last years team was atrocious under coach Marc Trestman and this was a nice win for the Bears and a tough loss for the Raiders. Many people including myself had the Raiders winning this one going into the Denver game.

Anyone that reads me know’s I’m not rah rah.  I tell it like it is even if it’s not that fun for homer fans to read.  I try to be honest; so when I’m saying things aren’t as bad as people are making it out to be, you should listen.

We found out 3 things with this game;

-Oakland is an improved team on the way up

-the Raiders aren’t as good as some say they are

-they play more conservative in the second half

If you are one of those people that live and die every week with your team, I hope that you have your counselor on speed dial. Not every loss is tragic, and not every win is epic. The NFL season is a marathon and you have to have a short memory whether you win or lose.  The sky isn’t falling after the loss to the hapless Bears but it is raining.

The Raiders are definitely a better team which is really a good thing for their fans and the NFL. If you expect them in the playoffs going 11-5 or 10-6 though, you are going to have some rough times. I think this is a .500 team. Considering where they came from, this would be very positive.   Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.  If you expect them to win every game then you are going to have some bad moments.  This isn’t your fathers and grandfathers Raiders.

It’s encouraging to see the great effort the players are putting in and it’s obvious this team has improved greatly over the past 12 years. I’m also realistic though, and good teams don’t lose to the likes of Chicago. I think they are on the right track though even with this setback.


Derek Carr didn’t have a great day but it wasn’t bad either. He made a very nice throw to Amari Cooper for a touchdown but wasn’t as accurate as he was in the past 2 weeks. The Bears came after him more with a better pass rush and I’m sure that had some effect on him. He only threw for 196 yards.

People put all the blame for the conservative play calls on Raiders OC Bill Musgrave but I guarantee you if Brady or Rodgers doesn’t like the play, they change it. Bears DC Vic Fangio had a pretty clear mindset; take away the first down run and make the Raiders throw. It worked like it had so many times last year. The conservative nature of the game in the second half has to fall partly on Carr who can audible at any time.

The mindset of Carr, Musgrave, and the Raiders offense on the last drive seemed to be lets get a field goal.   The Bears were aggressive on defense and Cooper had man to man coverage on the entire final drive. A play action deep pass had to be tried. When your defense is really good you can get the field goal; when it isn’t, you go for the touchdown.


Again, it wasn’t like the last 2 weeks but it wasn’t a bad game. The improved pass rush made him hurry a few throws and his accuracy wasn’t what it was. Crabtree made some really nice catches on a couple of them. I like Carr’s development but he has to audible when so many defenders are on the line of scrimmage on first down.

Running Backs:

I’ve said it before; the Raiders are taking a huge risk putting all their eggs in the Latavius Murray basket.   I think Marcel Reece needs to get some snaps at running back. He’s just too talented to only touch the ball a couple of times a game.

Murray imploded. He constantly was looking over his shoulder anticipating hits and hearing footsteps. He dropped 2 passes; one which went for an interception; fumbled a simple pitch play and was off all day. It got so bad he was benched for the rest of the 4th quarter and replaced by backup Roy Helu Jr. who played well in his absence. Helu Jr. made some nice runs and caught the ball well.

Grade C

Helu Jr. was a nice change of pace and Marcel Reece; on one of his few touches; made a great grab for a nice pass reception. Murray was brutal and he played like he did not want to be there. A good NFL player shows up every week. Murray didn’t show up.

Offensive Line:

Most of the networks picked up on what the strategy of the day for the Bears was; take away the first down run. Trent Green (who other than his worship of NFL QB’s is a really good analyst) pointed out a few times on first down that the Bears safeties were about 8 yards off the line of scrimmage.   The Bears dared the Raiders to throw, but in the second half they continued to run on first down. An audible with a play action pass and throwing a long one to Cooper was there all day long, including the last drive.

People are quick to blame the offensive line for the run struggles in this game but you can’t run the ball against 8 defenders near the line of scrimmage while trying to run on first down all the time.

The Raiders are not going to be able to run the ball if they don’t keep teams honest and throw on first down. Against the Ravens especially, they did play action on first down often and it opened up the field and the run.

Carr had a moderate rush at times and was sacked twice. Not a great day but not as bad as people say. Again if the stars don’t shine on an NFL team, Fan speak 101 says blame the coaches and the offensive line. If the stars shine, give the stars all the credit. Momma don’t let your babies grow up to be offensive linemen.

Grade C+

This group can play better.   Carr still had time to throw but the Raiders have to throw on first down more and keep teams honest or they can’t run the ball. The OL has had better games and will continue to improve and gel.

Wide Receivers:

Crabtree twisted his ankle but he came back and made two great grabs and lead the team with 5 catches for 80 yards. Cooper had a nice route and catch on a touchdown but other than a drop in the first quarter, he wasn’t much of a factor either way.

Seth Roberts almost made a great catch for another TD but his foot was out of bounds.


A gutsy performance by Crabtree. The Raiders didn’t have the ball all that much and when they did; especially in the 2nd half; they were fairly conservative.

Defensive Line:

Dan Williams and Justin Tuck continue to play well. Aldon Smith and Kahlil Mack played well, especially Smith who had 6 solo tackles, a pass batted down, a tackle for loss and a sack. The Raiders again blitzed often in the first half but didn’t as much in the second half. On the final drive they mostly rushed 4 men and had a mild blitz on only one play.

Matt Forte is a great running back and even though he did get 91 yards rushing, it took 25 carries to do so.   Not a great game but not bad either.

In the second half though the lack of pass rush has to be addressed. The Raiders have to continue to send blitzes. Right now this group isn’t good enough to just rush 4 players yet.

Grade: C+

At times they played really well and at other times they could not get the pressure on the quarterback that they needed to. The Raiders need to mix in blitzes throughout the game to keep teams honest.   They continue to be too conservative to want to blitz near the end of the game.


Like I’ve said before, the LB’s have their strengths but all of them have weaknesses too. Curtis Lofton had a bad game though. He’s usually really good against the run but he was inconsistent. He is not a cover guy and he struggled mightily in pass coverage.

I’m still not sold that Ray Ray Armstrong is a starter. Malcolm Smith is a good blitzer and pass defender but not much of a run stopper and it showed at times. This group is going to have good and bad days and this was not one of their better days.

Grade C-

The Raiders LB’s struggled at times and seemed lost against the pass.

Defensive Backs:

Jay Cutler couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn at times but he still carved up the Raiders defense for 281 yards and 2 TD’s and an interception. The Raiders pass defense is just awful at times. Part of it is that they are so depleted with injuries, but in reality they really don’t have a quality starting cornerback. Carrie again had to be moved over to safety due to injuries. DJ Hayden again struggled and to be honest I’m tired of picking on him. He’s just not a starting NFL CB and with 4.9 million due him next year, he’s all but gone. David Amerson was a surprise at CB with 2 nice plays knocking down passes in coverage.   He also was second on the team with tackles at 7.

The Raiders safeties can’t guard tight ends. The Raiders have tried everything; even covering tight ends with linebackers; but it’s just not happening. If the Raiders pass rush struggles, so will the DB’s.

Grade D  

The Raiders are 31st in passing yards against and 31st in total yards. They are now 26th in scoring defense.

Even with the Bears having so few weapons, this was another rough day for this group. Without Alshon Jeffery, the Bears do not have a #1 WR.   This group took it to the Raiders at times. In fact, Cutler threw only to 4 players all day.


The Raiders on offense were much more conservative than in the past, and it was really seen in the second half. The Raiders were afraid to pass on 1st down and they struggled mightily running the ball with the Bears putting many people in the block to stop it. In almost every first down play in the second half, the Raiders ran the ball. Carr also has to audible more on first down. Cooper often had clear man to man coverage on first down which should have meant play action pass, and then throw to him deep.

Musgrave did well by benching Murray because he just was somewhere else.

On defense, the Raiders again rarely blitzed in the second half. No matter what the publicity says, the Raiders 4 man rush can’t rush the passer on every down and harass the QB enough to disrupt him right now. The Raiders needed to blitz more. I watched the Denver game and the Broncos blitzed often in the final drive against the Vikings and it worked with a fumble recovery after hitting Teddy Bridgewater which secured the win. The Raiders have nothing to lose and you have to look at the risk v.s. reward.

I also think with the Raiders having so little talent and depth at cornerback that having TJ Carrie return punts was a huge mistake. It came back to bite them when Carrie had to leave the game after returning a kick.

Grade C-

Too conservative again in the second half. Some though are trying to blame the coaches in regards to the opponents tight ends dominating the Raiders, but they’ve tried everything. Woodsen is getting his interceptions but he struggles a lot in coverage. With all of the injuries at safety and the struggles of the linebackers in coverage, the Raiders are going to be vulnerable to tight ends all year. If Carrie can get back on the field, maybe have him stay at safety and take over the role.

Special Teams:

TJ Carrie getting injured on a punt return was discouraging.

Sebastian Janikowski and Marquette King were as solid as always. One of the most consistent groups in the NFL.   The return game wasn’t much of a factor and it was hard to lose a starting DB during a punt return.

Grade A-

King and Jano are solid as always. Return game not much of a factor.

Next Opponent:   Denver Broncos (4-0); last game, win @ home against the Minnesota Vikings 23-20)


The Raiders are an improved team and this loss should not discourage that. What it should do though is give them a reality check.   They are an average team; which is good from where they came from; looking to become a good one.

No matter how you spin it though, this was a bad loss against a team that hadn’t won a game since last November. The AFC west is not what it once was so that helps the Raiders some, but Denver’s aggressive defense is for real.

Peyton Manning is on his last legs, but he still has weapons in the likes of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos offense isn’t what it once was and has struggled this year. Their defense though might be the best in the NFL. They have 4 solid pass rushers and an aggressive style that is constantly finding ways to get to the quarterback. I like them a lot and love their aggressive nature.

The Raiders are just 7-17 against the Broncos since 2003 and 0-7 in their last 7 meetings. Denver’s margin of victory in those 7 wins is 22 points. They have controlled the Raiders by stopping the run and rushing the passer on passing downs. On offense, they’ve been able to do pretty much what they wanted against the Raiders so this will be a good test for the defense.

The Raiders will have their hands full against Denver next week. They hope to continue their improved offensive performance while enhancing their ability to get to the passer which will be imperative against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

“Raiders Will be 3-1 Heading Into Denver Showdown; Raiders v.s. Chicago Preview”


Week 4 Preview: Oakland Raiders (2-1) @ Chicago Bears (0-3)

Sunday, October 4, 10:00 AM on CBS

Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

I had the Raiders winning by a touchdown last week and they made me look good by holding on to a 27-20 win in Cleveland against the Browns. The gamblers had the Browns winning by 3.

Recap of Last week:

Raiders: Derek Carr had another great game and other than the Arizona Cardinals, there is no offensive line playing better than the Oakland Raiders OL. The Raiders OL was dominating with Carr at times having no one near him. The run game again flourished with teams now finally having to respect the Raiders passing game. Latavius Murray rushed for 139 yards on 26 carries and a rushing touchdown.

The Defense had a lot of good moments. In the first half the Raiders blitzed about 80% of the time, almost always sending 5 players to rush the passer on passing plays.   The Raiders dominated the first half giving up only 107 yards in passing at half time.   Unfortunately they tried to rush the passer more with only 4 players and Josh McCown of all people passed for 340 yards total. McCown was pretty much late on most passes he threw but he still brought the Browns back to a potential tying TD. He again threw late in the final drive and Charles Woodsen picked him off to preserve the win.

Chicago:   In college basketball and football they call this a “trap” game.   The Raiders play Denver next week and many times teams look ahead to a big match up and underestimate their opponent and lose. To the Bears credit, they have lost to 3 of the top teams in the NFL; Green Bay, Arizona, and Seattle in Washington. The Raiders have beaten 2 teams with a combined 2-5 record.  THE RAIDERS CAN’T LOOK PAST ANYONE!!!!

Want to know how bad things are going in Chicago? The Chicago fan base and media are already talking about who to pick #1 overall in the next NFL draft. Jay Cutler is an average NFL QB but Jimmy Clausen isn’t. The Bears had little to no chance to score last week against the Seattle defense.

Cutler might play but many doubt he’ll be rushed back. If he doesn’t play, Clausen completed 9 passes all game for 63 yards. In 10 possessions, the Bears punted every time.   Clausen is 1-10 as a starter as well.

Matt Forte is still a solid player but there are now rumors that he will be shopped around during the trade deadline. Even star WR Alshon Jeffery is now ruled out for the game Sunday.

The Raiders will win if:

DEFENSE: The Raiders defense is ranked 30th in yards per game, 30th in passing yards against and passing yards per game, and 27th in points and 19th in sacks. The Raiders played the Ravens who aren’t a juggernaut and who should be 0-4 if the Steelers had a kicker; and the Browns who are a bad football team.

On the good side, Aldon Smith played much better and it showed. Mack had a very good game with 2 sacks. With all of the blitzing, the LB’s ended up with 3 sacks and played a huge part in helping the Raiders pass rush.

Look for the DB’s to finally take a breather. The Browns have very little talent at WR, but without Jeffery the Bears have less.   Look for the small DJ Hayden fan club to at least have one good week.

OFFENSE: If the OL can continue to play lights out, look for Carr to shine again. With no pass rush to deal with an NFL QB can carve up a defense and that’s what Carr is doing. I see another 300 game from Derek.

Look for the run game to shine again like last week. I don’t see the Bears DL being any problem for the Raiders OL to handle.

The Bears will win if:

OFFENSE: The only chance they have to win the game is if Jay Cutler plays. He’s not an elite QB but he’s ok and he is their only shot. If Clausen plays, this should be a fairly easy game for the Raiders. Matt Forte will have to have an epic game as well. The x factor is talented Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. The Raiders safeties have been torched by tight ends all year and look for the Bears to try to feature Bennett who is their #1 pass catcher so far this year.

DEFENSE: The proud tradition of the Bears defense is a long and storied one. From Doug Atkins to the great Dick Butkus to the 85 Bears; it’s as good as any. To see how bad this defense is now is embarrassing.

Some will say the Bears are a top 10 passing defense but as many stats are it’s misleading.   (Liars use stats and stats almost always lie). They are rated that high because they’ve been destroyed in 2 games so their opponents just ran the ball to run out the game. They have been terrible against the run ranking 26th.


Another east coast game at an early time is hard to deal with.  This is the second one of 4 this year. It’s also hard to gauge the Bears because they have had such a difficult schedule. The Raiders ended a lot of bad streaks last week against Cleveland, but in the end it wasn’t easy.

I trust gamblers but again, I’m not sure what they are seeing. Many had the Browns a 3 to 3 1/2 point favorite last week over the Raiders and I’ve seen the spread at 1-2 1/2 points being given to the Bears for this weeks game.

If Cutler doesn’t play, the Bears have little to no chance to win. Even if Cutler plays, it will be a tough game.

I see the Raiders having a good game on defense, and for Latavius Murray to have another solid if not spectacular 100 yard rushing game. Jared Allen and Jon Bostic were both traded which also limits the Bears pass rush. I see the Raiders OL handling the Bears and I feel Carr will again have all day to throw and reach the 300 yard plateau.

Look for Khalil Mack and/or Aldon Smith to continue to get better, especially with the LB’s blitzing. The Raiders linebackers had their best game in years and look for them to continue to blitz and rush the passer. The Raiders can’t call off the dogs though; they need to be aggressive throughout the game. Giving up another 340 game to the likes of Josh McCown is not a good sign. Matt Forte must be kept in check, and talented tight end Martellus Bennett has to be covered.

Final Score:

Raiders 27

Bears 13

The Bears are cleaning house and are in full rebuild mode.  This is again a must win. You can’t lose to the potential worst team in the NFL on the road. With a quality Denver Broncos team lurking ahead, the Raiders need this game. Denver has a real defense and it will be a big test for the Raiders but they can’t overlook the Bears in ANY WAY.  With that being said, I see the Raiders winning going away and the fans enjoying a fun week of trash talk.

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