2012 NFL Week 14 Thursday Night Pick – FootballThursday, December 6, 2012 18:52
Thursday night game pick and analysis for the 2012 NFL season Week 14.
NFL Week 14
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders +10
For those younger than 30 years of age this match up seems just like another ho-hum contest between rivals in a badly lopsided division. Of course that analysis is accurate.
In truth, this rivalry used to be as fierce, intense and violent as this century’s Steelers/Ravens twice a year slugfests.
I lived in Denver when the Orange Crush Defense was taking the original Men in Black to the limit at least twice a year. Both franchises were much higher on my personal totem of hate because they each ousted the Steelers out of the playoffs between the Black & Gold’s dual pair of ’70′s Super Bowls–the Raidas in the 1976 AFC Championship and the Broncos the next year in the first round.
Since then, Denver and Oakland have taken different journeys and have ended up in 2012 at much different endpoints. As was common throughout their history the Broncos have been, at times, off-season risk takers–Floyd Little, John Elway (twice), and this year with Peyton Manning. Every one of those Broncos’ gambles paid off.
Conversely, the Raiders may have already become the first AFC team to evolve into a laughable caricature of itself.
Their was a time when Raider fans dressed as Visigoths, Vandals and demons actually were intimidating, unique, and, in a quirky way, cool.
Al Davis cursed his Raiders the day they moved to LA. Going back to Oakland only made the suffering fresher for their fans and players. Today the Raiders seem like a modern day team without a city; the silver and black-clad people who love them, fans without a team.
The Raiders used to believe their commitment to excellence was superior to all others. They used to take pride in leading the league in penalties–and victories. Today, they still lead the league in penalties, but can’t find an identity, not to mention an offense or defense. They have forgotten what toughness truly means and the tradition handed down by John Madden and Davis: play sound fundamental football, hit harder than any other team, and “just win baby.”
Today’s Raider fans–the die-hards only half-filling the stadium, donning painted skeleton faces, spiked dog collars and medieval armor–look like what Hulk Hogan might be if he were to attempt to make a comeback in the WWF.
He would be utterly in the wrong place and time walking into the World Wildlife Fund’s offices. And the first time the Hulkster ranted about what he would do to his next opponent and before he ripped off his wife beater, anyone watching could only have one reaction–pity.
Tonight, Denver, with a resurrected Peyton Manning vies for a wild card bye. Oakland plays for pride lost, tradition forgotten, and yet another first-year coach fretting for his job.
A ten point home dog is usually a non-starter, even in a cooled down rivalry–but these aren’t your daddy’s Raidas.
BRONCOS 34, RAIDERS 20
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