Football

As if 2018 wasn’t bad enough, Raiders are poised to stumble out of Oakland for good this season

How the Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium is looking

The Raiders stadium in Las Vegas is progressing through July 2019. The Raiders are scheduled to make their Las Vegas debut in 2020.
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The Raiders stadium in Las Vegas is progressing through July 2019. The Raiders are scheduled to make their Las Vegas debut in 2020.

Want to do Derek Carr a solid this football season?

Don’t pull for him. Pray for him.

It’s going to be that kind of hard haul for his Raiders, who are determined to give Oakland the sort of parting gift it has done nothing to deserve.

What, that 4-12 parting shot last season didn’t break Jack London’s Square jaw? Fine. The Raiders pushed their move to Las Vegas back a calendar, just to give Oakland one more last-place finish, just for the broken road.

That’s right: the Raiders may be going somewhere new after this season, but they’re going nowhere in the meantime.

If everything breaks their way, and with the help of multiple useful genie lamps, they go 6-10. Anything but that best-case scenario, and they’re going 4-12 because, in the NFL, somebody has to be the yang for those 12-4 teams.

It’s really too bad. Oakland merits better than this. So does Carr.

But, there’s only so much the former Fresno State quarterback can do. He needs help from the rest of the Eye Patches, and neither general manager Mike Mayock nor head coach Jon Gruden did enough to fix the here and now of it all.

We understand the wide receivers got better with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, but deep threats don’t have enough time to get deep if there is no pass protection. And, there simply isn’t enough pass protection to go around, no matter what the on-paper says.

One guard, Richie Incognito, is serving detention the first two games. The other, Gabe Jackson, is already hurt and out. One tackle, Kolton Miller, says his bad knee may never be good. The other, Trent Brown, was traded away by the 49ers just a year ago.

Are you sending your thoughts and prayers yet?

Be sure, the Raiders will win the Monday night opener against the Broncos. Kicking that mule is what they still do best.

But then what? Do you really see them winning two games during a seven-week road trip from here to Queen Elizabeth’s front porch?

Carr is going to complete a ton of his passes, and he’s going to throw north of 300 yards more often than not. You get to do that when the team is down 17 at halftime.

Let’s just hope Carr doesn’t get hurt, which is to say that he stops helicoptering over linebackers when he’s running for his life.

Scramble right, check it down, and live to see another relocation city.

In other useless predictions, now that the smelling salts have worn off …

Not much hope for 49ers, either

The 49ers will do no better, because any franchise that fires Jimmy Harbaugh and doesn’t head-coach hire Vic Fangio deserves to remain listless at sea.

With a healthy Jimmy Garopollo, the Santa Claritians go 6-10. He goes down, they move onto “With The Second Pick Of The 2020 Draft.”

Because, even when it comes to finishing last, the 49ers can’t finish first.

Super Bowl champs: Chiefs

The 2020 Lombardi Trophy goes to the Kansas City Chiefs, because head coach Andy Reid has run out of ways to not win the Big One.

They’ll beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, because Tom Brady’s arm has got to turn back into a pumpkin at some point. They’ll win the Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints, whose quarterback Drew Brees will double down on Brady’s point that old is the new new.

Disappointed we don’t have your team winning it all? That’s what you get for shopping local teams first.

David White is a former Fresno Bee staff writer and NFL beat writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, now a pastor and Sunday sports columnist for The Bee: bydw@sbcglobal.net, @bydavidwhite

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