After an emotional victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday, just one day after the passing of owner and legend Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders may have entered another plane of existence, one where win or lose they can truly do no wrong. With Davis gone, a man as synonymous with his team as any in the history of pro football, the Raiders have become one of the most dangerous teams in the league, one with perhaps less direction than before, but more steadfast than ever.
The Cleveland Browns, 2-2, will be tasked with heading into what will surely be one of the most highly charged Raiders' crowds in recent memory. It's no surprise that an opening line of three points in favor of Oakland quickly jumped to seven points just a few days after the Raiders' win.
Looking at the game itself, the Browns were likely to struggle regardless. They do have the benefit of a bye week, but two weeks may not be enough to fix the problems that surfaced during their blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 4. A porous secondary was torched for 220 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 Matt Hasselbeck completions, while the Browns' offense was forced to go pass-happy behind a big deficit. A rush defense giving up over 126 yards a game should have its hands full with Darren McFadden as well.
Still, the game is secondary this week. Somebody will win, but the score is a moot point. One of the most enigmatic figures in this history of the NFL is gone, and the game of football is all the worse for it.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, October 16; 4:05pm ET
Location: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Browns: WMMS 100.7 FM, WTAM 1100 AM
Raiders: KITS 105.3 (LIVE 105)