By Hamish Girvan
The last time the Oakland Raiders were relevant in the NFL George Bush was in his first term as President and Nickel back were big time in the charts. That was 2002 and the Raiders were the Superbowl runner ups. Since then they have not had a winning season however its now 2016 and this year there are very relevant. Currently holding an 8-2 record they are leading the AFC West and on current form should make the playoffs. Head coach Jack Del Rio is in his second season and has built a team based around youth in a total rebuild. Second year Quarterback Derek Carr is playing lights out football and has lead his team to a number of tight wins. This is not the usual Raiders easy beats from the past decade
Meanwhile last season’s Superbowl runner ups, the Carolina Panthers have had a torrid start to the season and until their hard fought win against the New Orleans Saints had only won 3 games. The loss (or release) of key defensive back Josh Norman, seems to have affected what their strength was last season, a solid defence and quarterback Cam Newton has not been as dynamic in his play. His constant moaning about being illegally hit by the opposition is maybe a smokescreen that his offensive line is not holding up. Maybe though they have turned a corner. Their sluggish start looks like its building momentum and here they are given a 3.5 point start against the Raiders
The Raiders traveled to Mexico City earlier this week to play an inaugural match there where they won against a Houston Texan team that had some official’s calls go against them. The Raiders just seem to have a habit of getting their wins by getting out of jail so to speak. Their fan base are pumped and the “black hole” where they congregate will be at its best (or worst however you want to look at it)This match up may take its toll with travel as the Panthers are well rested having played the Thursday night game the previous week.
The NFL is all about momentum and the Panthers look as though they have it. Take the Panthers points start – this could be the start of a late run into the post season.
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