To many, the Raiders are no longer a Super Bowl contender due Derek Carr’s devastating injury and McGloin’s sudden promotion to starting QB. For that reason, the most important thing to root for as a Raider fan this week is…
The “McGloinoids” over The “Haters”
“Quickdraw” McGloin is the most interesting player to watch this week in the NFL. How he performs against a strong Denver pass defense, and how the rest of the team gathers around “The Irishman” will be a good indicator of how much of a chance the Raiders have in the postseason. “Gunner” McGloin has had his ups and downs in the short time he was a starter his rookie season.
The hope from the “McGloinoids” is that in the time he’s had to mature as a quarterback, as Derek Carr’s backup, he’s improved his football intelligence and ability to make the correct decisions with the football while maintaining the gritty playmaking ability that made him a cult hero amongst some Raider fans. With some help from a much improved roster he may be able to make that happen.
In a season where he was thoroughly mediocre statistically (1:1 TD:INT ratio and 76.1 QB rating) “The Scranton Scrapper” was a gleam of hopeful light on a roster that hadn’t yet started to descend from the depths of the early Reggie McKenzie era.
As a point of reference, one of “The Rabid Raccoon’s” top receiving threats was Andre Holmes, who is currently the Raiders’ fourth WR and makes most of his money in coverage units on special teams. With weapons of that level he was able to rack up the most 20+ yard passing plays in the NFL over his short stint as a starter.
Other than improved playmakers around him, “The 14 Leaf Clover” is lucky enough to play behind a significantly better offensive line. Football Outsiders ranks Oakland’s 2016 OL 1st in pass protection and 10th in run blocking and the OL he had to play behind in 2013 28th in pass protection and 26th in run blocking.
The “Haters” remember “The Pennsylvania Pirate’s” 1-5 record as a starter and penchant for trusting his arm and receivers more than he should. They point to the throw to Amari Cooper that closed out the game vs the Colts on Saturday as a sign that he is still too careless with the football and will be picked apart against better defenses.
They saw him get crushed by an all out blitz in his brief appearance in the Carolina game as a sign that he hasn’t improved his pre snap reads. The “Haters” look at Derek Carr as the heart and arm of the this 12-3 team and anyone else under center as too much of a disruption to the balance and confidence of this young team.
The only thing we can do as fans is hope that the “McGloinoids” are more right than not with their hopeful outlook on “Mad Matt’s” abilities to perform well for the Raiders.
Where We Stand
At 12-3 the Raiders are currently slotted one game behind the New England Patriots as the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs. They lead the AFC West by one game over the 11-4 Chiefs. Besides their own, there are only two games that can impact the Raiders seeding in the playoffs. Oakland can finish as the #1 or #2 seed if they maintain their lead in the division, or fall to the #5 seed if they cannot.
And with all of that out of the way let’s get to the picks.
(Due to week 17 being mostly meaningless I will be doing my best Latavius Murray impression as I reach for these picks.)
Bills(7-8) over Jets(4-11)
Earlier this season the Bills were kind enough to lose to the Raiders defeat and the Patriots once. Those two results helped put the Raiders in position to potentially surpass the Patriots in the standings after week 17. As an additional factor the Jets QB room includes starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has had an oddly high level of success against the Raiders, and Christian Hackenberg who failed to hack it as McGloin’s successor at Penn State.
Bears(3-12) over Vikings(7-8)
Rooting for rival sea faring pillagers is tactically unwise.
Bengals(5-9-1) over Ravens(8-7)
The Ravens had a chance to make the Steelers slum it as wildcards or even fall out of the playoffs last week. Instead they decided to let them win in the last seconds of the game and secure the AFC North and #3 seed in the playoffs. Take your punishment, Baltimore.
Browns(1-14) over Steelers(10-6)
The Browns hilariously defeated the Chargers last week. Let’s have another laugh. Come on, it’s the Puttsburgh Squeelers.
Eagles(6-9) over Cowboys(13-2)
Dak Prescott is proof that once your superstar QB goes down you have no chance in the NFL. Oh wait… Either way, just root against the Cowboys because Cowboys. Need more than that? Okay here goes. Jerry Jones, “America’s Team”, Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman’s voice, Jerry Jones, half shirts, Randy Gregory, Ewoks, and of course, Jerry Jones. Enough?
Titans(8-7) over Texans(9-6)
The Titans are starting a QB named Matt one week after losing their promising young QB to a broken fibula. Now who does that remind us of?
Jaguars(3-12) over Colts(7-8)
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID, COLTS!
Note: The injury was not intentional. Keep it classy Raider Nation.
Dolphins(10-5) over Patriots(13-2)
This game actually matters to the Raiders. If the Raiders win and the Patriots lose, the Raiders would take the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Homefield advantage throughout the AFC side of the bracket would be a major benefit to a Raider team forced to start their backup QB. A Dolphins win would also put extra pressure on Kansas City to win Sunday afternoon. This game takes place on the early slate of games so both Oakland and Kansas City will be aware of the results by kickoff of their own games or shortly thereafter.
Panthers(6-9) over Buccaneers(8-7)
There can only be one pirate navy in this league. The booty is ours.
Falcons(10-5) over Saints(7-8)
If McGloin can help take this Raiders team to the Super Bowl, getting revenge over a Falcons team that defeated the Raiders in a close early season matchup would be a satisfying way to end the season. This win would secure the Falcons with the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Chargers(5-10) over the Chiefs(11-4)
Last week the Chargers lost to a previously winless Browns team.
This week a the Chargers defeating the Chiefs would give the Raiders room to slip up against Denver. If the Raiders lose and the Chiefs lose, the Raiders maintain the #2 seed. If the Raiders lose and the Chiefs win however, Oakland falls to the #5 seed and has to travel throughout the playoffs unless both wildcard teams manage to make it to the AFC Championship game. If the Chiefs lose and the Dolphins win, Kansas City would fall to the #6 seed and have to travel to Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs.
Cardinals(6-8-1) over Rams(4-11)
The Raiders currently have 12 wins this season. The other three California teams currently have 11 wins combined. It’s possible for the Raiders to win their game this week and still have the other California teams tie or pass them in combined wins. Since rooting for San Diego is a must, the Rams have to fall.
Giants(10-5) over Redskins(8-6-1)
The Redskins are still alive in the playoff race in the NFC. If they win they are in unless the Lions and Packers tie. The sooner the Redskins end their season, the sooner they can start thinking about who they are going to cut to help the Raiders in 2017.
Seahawks(9-5-1) over 49ers(2-13)
A Raiders win and Chargers win would raise the tally in the California wins race to Oakland: 13, rest of the state: 12. If San Francisco adds a win to that the rest of California would knot it up. They must fall.
Lions(9-6) over Packers(9-6)
How weird was 2016? A reality star became President; Cleveland won a professional sports title; the Cubs won the World Series; pillagingjustforfun.com launched; the Raiders and Lions ended their playoff droughts by winning their respective divisions. Root for the story!
Worst Case Scenario
McGloin looks shaky as the Raiders lose and the Chiefs win. The Raiders fall to the #5 seed and have to travel to Houston in the wildcard round of the playoffs. With a win over the Texans a likely trip to Foxboro awaits in the divisional round.
Best Case Scenario
McGloin leaves mouths agape as he leads his team to victory over the Denver Broncos. The Dolphins overtake the Patriots giving the Raiders home field advantage throughout the AFC side of the playoffs. The Chiefs fall to the Chargers and have to travel to Pittsburgh as the #6 seed in the playoffs. The Steelers win that game and head to Foxboro for the second round of the playoffs while the Raiders host the winner of the Miami-Houston game after getting an extra week to let McGloin settle in.
And of course GO RAIDERS!
Written by: RediAr