Saturday, October 11, 2008

This crystal ball sees four wins in Cable's future

A few days ago, I posted a poll asking readers to predict the number of regular-season games interim Raiders coach Tom Cable would win this season. The choices are 0 to 2, 3 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12.

I don’t vote in the polls I post, but here’s my prediction: Cable will go 4-8. Some will call me overly optimistic. Others will call me a Raiders hater. We'll see.

Now for the game-by-game breakdown:

Oct. 12, at New Orleans: The Raiders don’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up with Saints QB Drew Brees, especially on the road. This would be a tough assignment for Tom Landry, let alone Tom Cable. Prediction: Saints 27, Raiders 14

Oct. 19, vs. N.Y. Jets: Remember that Monday night game a few years ago when Brett Favre, then playing the Packers, torched the Raiders at the Coliseum just a day or so after the death of his father? If you saw that performance, you’d be nuts to pick against Favre this time, even if he is playing for a new team. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall could be in for a long day. Prediction: Jets 24, Raiders 21

Oct. 26, at Baltimore: Oakland’s defense can’t wait for this game. The Raiders should have their way with Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco and get Cable his first NFL victory. Prediction: Raiders 20, Ravens 14

Nov. 2, vs. Atlanta: Another week, another rookie quarterback on the other side, this time Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. Cable should win back-to-back games for the first time. Prediction: Raiders 24, Falcons 21

Nov. 9, vs. Carolina: Panthers coach John Fox, a former Raiders defensive coordinator, has his team playing well on both sides of the ball. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme and WR Steve Smith could have a big day. Prediction: Panthers 24, Raiders 20

Nov. 16, at Miami: Last year the Raiders steamrolled the Dolphins 35-17 in Miami, rolling up huge running numbers. These aren’t you’re 2007 Dolphins. New executive VP Bill Parcells and coach Tony Sparano have quickly built a tougher, better team. Prediction: Dolphins 23, Raiders 20

Nov. 23, at Denver: Broncos coach Mike Shanahan keeps making Al Davis pay for canning him in 1989. Prediction: Broncos 28, Raiders 21

Nov. 30, vs. Kansas City: The Raiders already beat the Chiefs in Kansas City. They’ll double their fun against one of the NFL’s worst teams. Prediction: Raiders 30, Chiefs 17

Dec. 4, at San Diego: The Raiders have lost 10 straight times to San Diego, including a 28-18 setback earlier this season at the Coliseum to former coach Norv Turner. This streak has to end sometime, just not this year. Predictions: Chargers 30, Raiders 20

Dec. 21, vs. Houston: The Texans beat the Raiders last year in Oakland, 24-17. This time the Raiders will even the score against this underachieving bunch. Prediction: Raiders 24, Texans 17

Dec. 28, at Tampa Bay: The Raiders will face yet another former coach, this time Jon Gruden. Gruden is 1-1 against the Raiders, but that one win was huge, a 48-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. Winning so far from home at the end of another lost season will be a nearly impossible task for Cable’s team. Prediction: Bucs 20, Raiders 14

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