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Raider Nation can finally say, “The autumn wind is a Raider” and have some pride saying it.Photo by Jeff Lewis By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
The Raiders!!!!The clocks didn’t just fall back an hour this past Sunday, apparently they fell back eight years, because the Raiders have not been over .500 this late in the season since 2002, and they are on their first three game winning streak since that year, when they went to the Super Bowl. Now Raider fan shouldn’t get too carried away, this is a team that was 2-4 just three weeks ago, and 5-4 is nothing to go crazy about. Wait, check that, the Raiders have lost 11 games a year for the past seven seasons, an NFL record. So Raider fan, go ahead and party like it’s 2002 (well, minus the Super Bowl butt kicking that year). The Raiders have looked like a legit team over their three game winning streak. Good teams take care of business against bad teams. 59-14 over the Denver Broncos and 33-3 over the Seattle is doing just that. But the real test came this past Sunday, when their rivals, the first place Kansas City Chiefs, came to town, and instead of finding a way to lose a tough game, the Raiders found a way to win, getting a last minute drive that resulted in a field goal to send the game into overtime, where they won the game 23-20.This Raiders team certainly is not a contender, but Raider fan should be happy that they aren’t bottom feeders right now, and they are in a position to make a run at the playoffs. Cowboys and Vikings still competing for headlinesThe Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings are said to have two of the most talented teams in the league, and they were supposed to be competing for the Super Bowl this season. But instead they both have been disasters. It’s now getting embarrassing. Every week one of these teams is making headlines for some soap opera drama. That’s not surprising, seeing that these teams are a combined 4-12. How the Raiders have more victories then the Cowboys and Vikings combined is anybody’s guess. To put that into even more perspective, the St. Louis Rams have as many wins as both of them. Well this week both the Cowboys and Vikings decided to make the headlines. The Cowboys by being embarrassed on national television at Green Bay and then finally firing head coach Wade Phillips, and the Vikings by their head coach making a lame joke about Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in a post game interview after their victory, and nearly getting into a fight with a player during the week. The Cowboys quit weeks ago, but on Sunday, that was just horrible. There is no way Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can continue to roll that product out onto the field. That team has too much talent, well, maybe they don’t have as much talent as people think, but there is no way they should be getting run off the field 45-7 against the Packers. Fired coach Phillips is known as a great defensive coordinator, and he pretty much had those duties with the Cowboys, along with being their head coach. But the Cowboys were 31st in the league in points given up. That, coupled with the team quitting on him, gave Jones no choice but to fire Phillips. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who has been waiting for years to get this job, will now take over, but don’t count on him turning the ship around. Word is that the defensive players barely know him, and what they know of him they do not like. They have questioned his play calling as of late. Well in all fairness to Garrett, Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo has been out for a few weeks, and back up John Kitna can’t get the job done. And why would anybody on that defense question anybody when they can’t stop anybody from scoring?As for the Vikings, Childress must be the most unlikable guy in that locker room. Last week he nearly got into a fight with wide receiver Percy Harvin when Childress questioned Havin’s ankle injury during practice. After Favre brought the Vikings back from being down 14 points in the fourth quarter, Childress said that he doesn’t need a hug like Favre does. Well that “joke” was met with the sounds of crickets from the media, and Favre probably didn’t find it funny.
Childress should be thanking Favre for that comeback victory this past Sunday, because it probably saved his job. There were rumors that Childress was on the verge of being fired, and a loss could have sealed his fate. Another contender bites the dust while Hillis runs wildEvery time a team looks like they are going to become Super Bowl frontrunners, they come crashing down back to earth. This past Sunday it was the New England Patriots, who rolled into Cleveland with a 6-1 record, but the Browns have a knack for beating down contenders, like they did to the New Orleans Saints a few weeks back, defeating the Super Bowl champions 30-17.Against the Patriots, running back Peyton Hillis rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Who would have figured that Hillis, a white running back, yes, you read that right, would be running wild, and he is on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards. The last white running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in the NFL was Craig James with the Patriots in 1985.
This season is really weird when a white running back is one of the leading rushers and three out of the four highest rated quarterbacks are black, and the Raiders are above .500 this late in the season. This would be a good time to go out and play the lotto. Hillis playing great is just one more sign that the Denver Broncos are out of their minds. The Broncos drafted Hillis in 2008, and he filled in nicely for injured running backs during his rookie season. When Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels was hired in 2009, Hillis was a forgotten man, like just about every other player from the previous coaching staff. McDaniels went out of his way not to play Hillis, and traded him away for quarterback Brady Quinn, who was horrible in training camp and preseason, so he has not seen any game action this year.
McDaniels, who really wanted Quinn badly, threw in a couple late round draft picks in the deal to get him. That trade, trading quarterback Jay Culter away, dumping wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and showing pretty much any good player on the roster the door, shows why the Broncos are now bottom feeders. Hillis must be feeling pretty good right now because he is finally getting a chance, and he’s making the most of it. Vick back from injurySpeaking of the highest rated quarterback being black, that would be Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick with a 105.3 rating, who out played the great Peyton Manning in the Eagles 26-23 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Vick completed 17-of-29 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions and he also rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown. With Vick at quarterback the Eagles are a playoff team. Without him they would probably be about an 8-8 team.