Make no mistake about it, Sunday night’s game is a franchise altering game. It is legitimately one of the most important games in the Las Vegas Raiders’ history, period. It’s that big of a game, and it’s on prime time television as the last game of the regular season. The stakes don’t get any higher in the final week of the season.
It’s a shame that it’s so exciting and yet so hard to believe that they could actually win it. Raider Nation: We have been let down too many times. It is too difficult to fully open one’s self to feeling that much rejection and disappointment again. It’s prove it time for the Raiders. They need to earn the benefit of the doubt.
That is exactly why this game could be so franchise-altering for them, though. These are the games the fans need them to win to get their optimism and trust back. They need to start coming up with victories again in the games that really matter.
It’s fitting that their leader, Derek Carr, is such a polarizing figure in his own right. How could he not be, though? He has only ever been a Raider, and the Raiders have consistently let their fans down over the past two decades.
More than anything else, he’s actually paying for the sins of the team’s recent past. It’s just so many lost years since they lost the Super Bowl and fell apart afterwards. Carr is the golden boy that is supposed to return the Raiders to relevancy from the abyss, but he hasn’t yet.
Carr has had some amazing wins in his career, no doubt. He’d probably be universally beloved if he had played for a different franchise, because he’s had plenty of spectacular performances. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of games where he was trying to do too much.
There are simply too many winnable games the Raiders have lost in his career. He isn’t solely responsible for the team’s win/loss record in his tenure here, but he is the face associated with it. Now is the chance to turn all of that around, to seize the day and return the Raiders to NFL relevancy.
This is finally his chance to get the playoff game that his broken fibula stole from him in 2016. They just have to win. That’s it! Just Win, Baby.
The wait is excruciating. Raiders fans across the world are sitting on pins and needles waiting for this game against the Los Angeles Chargers to arrive. The masochistic nature of the fandom still brings in rays of hope, even with Raider Nation’s training to expect the worst.
To have this opportunity right now, though? This season? This was a cosmically awful season, but despite all the tragedy, they controlled their own destiny. Can you even believe it? They control their fate in the final week of the season, despite everything. There are very few more compelling sports stories written than this. It has the makings of a Hollywood biopic written all over it.
They have no right to be in this situation, yet here they are. This is the time for them to put it all together and reward the fans for their loyalty. It’s time for Carr to get the playoff monkey off his back and prove his worth in the NFL. It’s time for the sports gods to finally throw the Raiders a freaking bone here!
Will they do it, though? We will see soon. Raider Nation requires it now, perhaps more than ever before. It’s up to you how much vulnerability you have left after these years of ineptitude, but it’d be one hell of a feeling if they finally rewarded the hope.
Sadly, it’ll be one hell of a feeling if they don’t win too. Raiders fans know that feeling all too well by now. Don’t send them down that rabbit hole again. It’s time to get Carr his playoff game.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images