If legendary broadcaster and NFL films narrator John Facenda was still alive, he would probably describe the Oakland Raiders situation (with horns blazing in the background) as ” a team that was once a team for the decades now meanders through a desolate wasteland, unable to achieve success both to the detriment of the organization and its loyal fans”.
The Raiders did look like a team on the rise sitting at 3-4 before last Sunday’s game, but Nick Foles and the Birds had a day for the ages, as Foles threw seven touchdown passes en-route to a blowout 49-20 win over the silver and black.
Part of the success of the offense was due to Foles’ accuracy, with the other part attributable to some questionable defensive schemes being employed by the Raiders defense. But whatever the reason, the result is that the Eagles find themselves at 4-5 and still on the Cowboys coattails for the NFC East lead.
After spending a few days in the Bay Area last weekend, and more specifically, at the Oakland Coliseum for last Sunday’s game, two items of note stuck out about Raiders fans:
1) Their not as bad as we thought they were. I attended the Green Legion pre-game tailgate and the game with some initial reservations about donning the midnight or kelly green for fear that some random Raiders fan wearing a Darth Vader costume would come out of the Black Hole section of the Coliseum and slash us all to nothingness with a lightsaber that actually worked like in the movies. But while walking through the stadium concourse or the parking lot, neither an obscenity, a food item, or any dangerous objects were ever hurled at us.
2) Raiders fans are a lot like Eagles fans. They come out to support their team, which has unfortunately fallen on hard times, and respect Eagles fans because they travel and come out to show their support, unlike many of their AFC West counterparts ( Chargers, Chiefs, Broncos) who, as one hardcore Raiders fan told me, were patsies because they came to the stadium without wearing their team colors (he actually used another word that starts with “P” but hey, I’m trying to keep this blog to a PG rating).
This week, the Birds move from the wine to the cheese portion of their schedule, when they face the Packers this Sunday up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. And while the cheeseheads will be in full force at iconic Lambeau Field, this game may have shifted to a “softer” portion of the Eagles schedule when the Packers head cheese, QB Aaron Rodgers, suffered a collarbone injury that will sideline him for at least a few weeks.
And while backup Seneca Wallace is no Rodgers, the Eagles could be in danger of becoming too complacent in thinking this will be an easy win. To diffuse that theory, one just needs to refer back to 2o10 and the name “Joe Webb”.
Webb, as you may recall, was the Vikings backup QB when the Birds faced the Vikings at home in late 2010 in a game that the Eagles were supposed to win handily. Instead, the Eagles came out flat, losing to Webb and the Vikings in a game that eventually cost them a 1st round bye in the playoffs (they went on to lose that 1st round playoff game at home to the Packers, who became the eventual Super Bowl champions).
The Birds will win this Sunday, 24-13, though it won’t be as easy as we would like it to be.
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless otherwise noted):
Lions at Bears 1:00 PM – The Bears, after defeating the Pack last week, look to take control of the NFC North but the Lions will have other plans and will come out victorious.
Panthers at Niners 4 :05 PM – The Panthers are winners of four straight but face a tough test on the road this week as their winning streak will come to an end. The conductor on the San Francisco cable car told me that she was going to “kaepernick” me when she found out that I was an Eagles fan. And I thought the Niners fans only got upset when there wasn’t any sushi at the tailgate.
Cowboys at Saints 8:30 PM – In a game that Eagles fans will surely be watching, the ‘Boys and Saints battle in the Dome in a Sundayyyyy night football affair. No way the Saints lose at home after losing to the Jets last week. The Birds and the Cowgirls will be tied for the NFC East lead by the stroke of midnight Sunday night.
The Last Word – For all of their coaching changes and line changes, the Flyers still can’t score. Perhaps someone in the organization just needs to accept that they’re really not that good.
A wise person once said that “patience is a virtue”, but the Flyers lack of patience when it came to their former young players is what has gotten them in this predicament….one that will take time to correct.