From there, we remain at home for the Bay Area rivalry with the Oakland Raiders. Defensively, the Raiders are 11th in yardage allowed, but are 29th in points (sound familiar?). Like their Bay rivals, they suffer in the turnover category as well (-3). But yet again, we're at home where we play well. Our running game will get on track (Oakland is 31st versus the run) and our D will start to regain its old form. 2-4.
And off to Carolina, currently 0-4. Rookie starting quarterback, no Steve Smith, 18th in defense in yards given up (19th rushing), 30th in offensive yards (-5 turnover ratio). Keep in mind that our two rookie offensive linemen will have even more time to develop and gain a good rapport working together. We've built momentum at this point and are playing a demoralized Carolina team. 3-4.
And now back home (NOT) to London to face the Denver Broncos. This one is a tough one to predict, and I'm still scratching my head wondering why Jed was so insistent on promoting us for this one. If we're lackluster at 10am on the East Coast, what's the reasoning for going further east? However, the Denver Broncos are susceptible to the run both defensively (4.1 ypg, T16th) and offensively (32nd, 2.2 ypc). What's more, thanks to our 80s and 90s prowess, most international fans remember us for our glory days and not our wanting last decade.
These next four games, I see us getting our running game on track, putting together a string of W's, getting our defensive assignments down, and learning from a tough first four weeks. Keep in mind, our first three were away from the 'Stick, against a resurgent Chiefs team, a NFC favorite in Atlanta and a Seahawks team which has proven tough to beat at home (ask San Diego, a supposed Super Bowl favorite). The Saints are the defending champions.
The glimmer, the silver lining, is that in three of those games we found ways to beat ourselves. We've been stricken with terrible luck and costly mistakes. Teams know we have talent; we know we have talent. And, heading into the bye, that talent will reveal itself with a four-game winning streak. 4-4 with a winnable second half.
[ Edited by faithful49erfan on Oct 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM ]