Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Gary Wiepert/AP/Press Association Images Sunday could be a big day for Raiders running back Darren McFadden.
# Gridiron
The Redzone: Raiders of the lost cause
The last time Oakland faced the Jets, in October 2009, they failed to put a single point on the board. Despite that, Steven O’Rourke tells us why Raiders fans will be celebrating on Sunday evening.

New York Jets (2-0) @ Oakland Raiders (1-1)

IT’S NOT EASY being an Oakland Raiders fan. Indeed, there are times when I think it would be less embarrassing to admit being Tim Tebow. That said, being a Raiders fan is nothing if not interesting.

Apparently cruising to victory with a 21-3 half-time lead against the Bills last week, the Raiders heartbreakingly lost 38-35 when their secondary left the game early to avoid the traffic.

Games like that can do one of two things to a team. You can either let it get you down or you can suck it up, move on and ensure it never happens again.

In spite of Al Davis, rather than because of him, there are really interesting things going on in Oakland. Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore could all, potentially, be superstars.

This weekend, they face a Jets defence looking to improve to 3-0 and who may just take this game for granted. I mean, if the Bills can beat the Raiders, surely the Jets can just phone this one in before they face probable playoff contenders in Baltimore and New England in the coming weeks.

Verdict: The Raiders have nothing to lose; they are supposed to be rubbish. The Jets have nothing to win; they’re supposed to beat teams like Oakland. Because of that, Raiders by six.

Green Bay Packers (2-0) @ Chicago Bears (1-1)

In just two games this season, Jay Cutler has already been sacked 11 times. Should this carnage continue over the course of a full 16-game season, you can’t imagine that number six will still be the Bears’ QB next season.

However, there is hope. The Packers secondary have given up 400 yards passing in both of their wins so far and Cutler has the arm to extend that to three games. If the O-Line can keep Cutler on his feet, then the Bears have a chance to avenge their defeat to Green Bay in last year’s NFC Championship Game.

The Packers look hungry this season though, hungrier than I thought possible. They could easily be 0-2 and yet they’ve found a way to close out both games. That’s the mark of a champion.

Verdict: O-Lines don’t improve quickly and they don’t protect QBs they suspect, rightly or wrong, to have quit on them before. Packers by 13+

New England Patriots (2-0) @ Buffalo Bills (2-0)

I know what you’re thinking — he’s talking about New England again, why doesn’t he just marry the Patriots? But what choice do I have; this match-up has ‘game of the week’ written all over it

The Bills have surprised most people to get to 2-0 and they’ve done it the Patriot way; outscoring opponents on offence and seemingly forgoing defence altogether. It’s been fun to watch but the Patriots are in a different league to the Chiefs and the Raiders – despite what Cam Newton thinks.

It’s early days of course but, looking at their schedule, the Patriots could already be thinking about having another stab at the perfect season. With the numbers Brady and co. have been putting up so far, I wouldn’t bet against it.

Verdict: The week three match-up between these two last year ended in a 38-30 win for the Patriots. Expect a similar margin of victory this weekend, but with twenty points added to the total score.

All fixtures and predictions

Houston @ New Orleans – New Orleans

NY Giants @ Philadelphia – Philadelphia

Jacksonville @ Carolina – Carolina

New England @ Buffalo – New England

Miami @ Cleveland – Cleveland

San Francisco @ Cincinnati – San Francisco

Denver @ Tennessee – Tennessee

Detroit @ Minnesota – Detroit

Baltimore @ St. Louis – St. Louis

NY Jets @ Oakland – Oakland

Kansas City @ San Diego – San Diego

Arizona @ Seattle – Seattle

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay

Green Bay @ Chicago – Green Bay

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis – Pittsburgh

Washington @ Dallas – Washington

Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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