Saturday, November 8, 2008

Escape from the Bay: Dan's Picks

What is most amazing about professional football in the Bay Area is its bottomlessness. Every time we think it can't possibly get worse, it does. As a Raider fan, I must tip my hat to the 49ers for their ability to keep pace in 2008. They are actually in this ballgame in terms of pathetic play, roster instability, wild stories in the press, and overall laughingstock status.

So for a second straight week, I will be away from the Bay on Sunday - this time in Denver, where the Rocky Mountain News is declaring an "Erie Resemblance" between Cutler's Thursday night comeback and those of Elway in Cleveland years ago. Speaking of Elway, how many playoff games has Shanahan won without him?

But I digress. Mustering all of my optimistic powers, I can only bring myself to say that the 49ers look as bad as the Raiders. Oakland will lose decisively against Carolina this week, 27-7. McFadden probably won't play, JaMarcus might not, and Chris Johnson will. But why bother with analysis? The Raiders look like they've quit, and Al is sending all the signals that 2008 has been scrapped, which is really more realistic than demoralizing, if you ask me.

The 49ers will lose decisively against the Cardinals, 35-20. I can get on board with Warner for the Hall of Fame. The test is whether you were the best at what you do at some point during your career (check) and whether you can sustain greatness over a number of years (suddenly looking possible - a hiatus is forgivable). Oh by the way, Lester Hayes very obviously fits this criteria.

Green Bay at Minnesota. Having grown up in the region and with a soft spot for the Packers, I love these Black & Blue matchups. As our missing contributor Dobolina can attest, Viking fans are generally very annoying. This rivalry, while not the Packers-Bears classic, can therefore be particularly contentious. Favre always had a way of blowing games in the Metrodome, but he's busy winning the AFC East, so I'm going with the Pack in a narrow victory, 24-21.

Pittsburgh looks solid, no matter who is at QB. And solid is not what describes Indy this year. So I'm going with the Steelers, 20-17.

And the Eagles are hot and need this win to keep pace with the Giants. Eagles 17-16.

Meanwhile, we will try our best to look forward to a future promised to DeAngelo Hall when he was cut. According to Steve Wyche: "Hall said Davis told him the Raiders are about to get rid of other players to clear money in order to acquire better linemen on both sides of the ball and address other areas of need -- like locking up Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha."

Let's save the obvious question, WHO ON EARTH WOULD SIGN IN OAKLAND?? for another day.

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