Patriots-Raiders prediction roundup

Noticed the Red Sox announced some tweaks to their “alternate” uniforms yesterday, showing off designs that didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought they should.

Sure it’s lame, and a blatant attempt to get Bandwagon Bob to run to his local Lids Inc. (if they’re still in business these days) and plunk down $20 on new colors and logos. Whatever. Who am I to be all high and mighty and decide what logo you feel should adorn your noggin? I like my hat blue with a red “B.” That either makes me a traditionalist or merely not a sucker. Take your pick.


But does anyone else get the feeling that new uniforms are sort of like a flavor of the week? Leave ‘em around for a while and they tend to go rotten. I mean, some of us sort of liked the Bruins’ “Pooh Bear” jersey when it was first introduced. Then we joined the rest of sanity. Anyone who rushed out to buy those Patriots silver jerseys probably shouldn’t be welcomed back into the club so easily.

On that note, it’s now been a decade-and-a-half since the Flying Elvis entered our consciousness. Frankly, I think I’ve had enough of him.

When he came on the scene in his first, since aborted, mid-90’s style, he was a big hit. A new era for the team began with a new look. Five Super Bowl appearances followed. Must be the shirts.

But look at those uniforms now. A tweak here, and a tweak there, and it might as well be the increasingly generic logo adorning the helmets of the Broncos, Titans, Ravens, Rams, Panthers, Seahawks, or Eagles.

Remember in the “Brady Bunch Movie” when Mike would present his architectural clients with multiple designs for different projects, all stemming from the basis that the Brady home was used in the implementation? Sometimes I wonder if he’s working in the NFL design department. When a team needs a redesign, you can easily predict what to expect.


In 1993, the new logo was a pronouncement of change. Today, it’s streamlined and boring, the grandfather of any number of other NFL look-alikes. Meanwhile, Pat Patriot, the oft-blamed symbol for the inefficiencies of the past sits in storage, adorning “throwback” uniforms just awaiting his return to the main stage.

I mean, is there really any comparison as to which one wins the cool factor?


Those red and white jerseys, like the Broncos’ old orange and blue, those were football uniforms, differing only slightly from the rugby shirts we might adorn in flag game down at the local park. Elvis (or is he the Old Man in the Mountain?), unlike Pat, is such a vanilla non-entity that says nothing of originality. He has been present for the greatest moments in team history, but Elvis needs to leave the building.

It will never happen, too many sales numbers put a crimp on that dream, with the three-point stance Pat, sadly, in the minority. But, hey, Pooh Bear is gone, so at least we won that one.

Who they’re picking

Our roundup of pundit picks for Sunday’s Patriots-Raiders showdown:

  • Jim
    McBride, Boston Globe
    : Patriots. “Bill Belichick trolling the sideline for the Silver and Black? That’s a pretty scary thought for Patriot Nation. Thank goodness Al Davis settled for Joe Bugel. Davis probably didn’t have much room left on the mantel for three additional Lombardi Trophies.”
  • Nancy Gay, San Francisco Chronicle: Patriots. “Too many Raiders are mailing it in, their best players are beyond frustrated, and coach Tom Cable isn’t getting through to them. The Patriots are motivated to win.”
  • Cam Inman, Oakland Tribune: Patriots 26, Raiders 10. “Ex-Raiders Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan are laughing on the sideline as a team of this decade knocks off ‘The Team Of The Decades.’”
  • Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 23, Raiders 10. “Got a fantasy team in the playoffs this weekend? Find some way to get Sammy Morris. Trust me on this one. Raiders giving up 159 rushing yards per game. Bill Belichick wants to keep his battered defense off the field. You get the picture.”
  • staff: Patriots across the board (of those who have picked).
  • Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 24, Raiders 7. “The Patriots stayed on the West Coast after beating Seattle. That takes some of the sting out of long plane flights. It helps that the Raiders stink. The Patriots won’t have to play all that hard to win this one. Oakland has packed it in. Matt Cassel should play even though his father passed away this week.”
  • CBS Sports staff: Five of six pick the Patriots to cover.
  • Cold, Hard, Football Facts: Patriots 27, Raiders 16. “The Raiders have scored just 13 offensive touchdowns in 13 games, and their No. 29 ranking in Scoreability would be even worse if not for three TDs on kick returns.”
  • Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 22, Raiders 14. “It’s been a tough week for Pats quarterback Matt Cassel, a California native, who may not play after the passing away of his father. To ease the pressure on Cassel during a tough emotional week and considering he will face a pretty good Raiders’ pass defense on the road if he does play, look for the rest of the Patriots to pick up their young QB, especially with defense and the running game. For the second straight week, the Pats hold on for a key win on the West Coast.”
  • USA Today staff: Patriots across the board.
  • Yahoo! staff: Patriots across the board.
  • Peter Schrager, Patriots 33, Raiders 16. “With a loss last Thursday in San Diego knocking them to 3-10 on the year, the Raiders became only the third team in NFL history to lose 10 or more games in six consecutive seasons. The saddest stat of the loss? Rookie running back Darren McFadden had as many tackles — three, all coming after Raiders turnovers — as touches.”
  • Sam Farmer, LA Times: Patriots. “The Patriots still have something to play for — they’re in a three-way tie for first in the AFC East with the Jets and Dolphins — whereas the Raiders are simply playing for pride. With victories at San Francisco and Seattle, New England has shown it can win on the West Coast.”
  • Our pick: Patriots 23, Raiders 19. The presence of Nnamdi Asomugha makes the passing game a little more difficult for Matt Cassel, who understandably is probably going to have a tough time making a go of it. Mostly because of the standout cornerback, the Raiders’ passing defense is a pretty healthy ninth overall in the NFL. But Asomugha can’t cover both Randy Moss and Wes Welker, opening up a big game for one of the other (We’ll say it’s Moss in his return to the Bay).
    After the fight put up in Seattle last Sunday, and a week on the West Coast, and even with the Raiders, half of whom have packed it in for the year, as the opponent, this isn’t a gimmee. Pats win, but fingernails will be shortened by the end of it.


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