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Beyond The Numbers: The Battle of the Bay

The Raiders are notoriously the bay area’s most dysfunctional team. The 49ers are breaking that stereotype.

Mike Singletary’s motivational speeches aren’t motivating his players any longer. There is talk that Singletary was set up for failure, because he wasn’t really qualified to be the head coach. This is only natural considering a 0-5 start. Jed York threw some fuel on the fire this week when he predicted the 49ers would still win the NFC west. Translation: Singletary is gone if he doesn’t win the division.

According to some fans present at the time, Al Davis called last week’s game a “must-win” and used profanity while doing it. This is how we know Tom Cable’s job always hangs in the balance. The win last week likely saved him for at least a couple more weeks. A 1-4 start, virtually insurmountable. A 2-3 start, a bit behind the curve, but only a missed short field goal shy of 3-2.

The battle of the bay is a big game in the bay area. Unlike the Giants and A’s that trade regular season blows each season, the Raiders and 49ers don’t play a regular season game very often. While a preseason game often serves as a bragging rights place holder, it isn’t uncommon for fans on the losing side to point out the meaningless nature. They are right too, bragging rights can’t be assigned when half the game is played with players now sitting at home.

The 49ers are 0-5. The Raiders are 2-3. Who is more desperate?

Is 2-3 really better than 0-5?

49ers five opponents are a combined 15-8 (652). Of course, their opponents are 10-8 (.556) against teams other than the 49ers.

Is a three-points loss to the Falcons, Eagles and Saints bad? Certainly not. Were blowout losses to the Chiefs and Seahawks bad? Certainly. Even though the Chiefs are much improved, the 49ers simply didn’t show up.

The Raiders five opponents are 13-12 (.520) and 10-10 (.500) against teams other than the Raiders.

Is a two-point win over the Rams and a win against the 2-3 Chargers impressive? Not really, despite the dramatic nature of both. Are losses to the Titans, Texans and Cardinals horrible? Probably not. The Raiders did enough to beat the Cardinals on the road and were marching down the field for the tying score against Houston before a dropped pass resulted in an interception.

Did anyone look at the schedule and think the 49ers would be any better than 2-3 at this point? Even the most optimistic person would have predicted 3-2. While underperforming, the 49ers aren’t that far from expected, despite all the talk to the contrary. The Chiefs aren’t the same team and Pete Carroll had weeks to game plan.

Did anyone look at the schedule and think the Raiders would be 2-3 at this point? Outside of the fans, this is probably the record that was expected after five games. Although meeting most expectations, the defense is underperforming. The offensive line can’t seem to pass block and Bruce Gradkowski is already hurt again.

Are the Raiders significantly better than expected? No. Are the 49ers significantly worse than expected? No.

It all makes for a very intriguing matchup this Sunday at Candlestick point. The Raiders are still trying to gain respectability and a .500 record through six games will do it. The 49ers are desperate and that makes them dangerous. 0-6 is a place no team wants to be.


  1. Hell, even Art Shell's team got back to back wins.

  2. Raiders 10 or more


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