Henderson, Nev. -- People are hungry for information on their beloved Las Vegas Raiders, and I am here with a smorgasbord of food.
I get a lot of nuggets and information that alone are not big enough for a story. When I have a few that I can assemble, I will, and when I only have one or two, I will post them on our community page. So, welcome to The Black Hole.
- At practice this week, if one thing stood out, it was the mood. Somebody forget to tell the Las Vegas Raiders that they were missing many players and should be nervous.
- The practice was sharp, vibrant, and the guys are ready.
- There would be NO SHAME in losing the Super Bowl Champs. In fact, on paper, the Raiders should. But they "Should" have lost last time, and they didn't.
- The Raiders are going to give the Kansas City Chiefs all that they want on Sunday night.
- We know the Chiefs are going to come out hot.
- If the Chiefs are up by one score or less at halftime, the Raiders WILL WIN.
- Andy Reid usually is quiet and reserved.
- His buddy Jon Gruden is getting free rent in his head. Reid, on more than one occasion, brought up the Raiders this week.
- Derek Carr concurs with my analysis: "Shoot, I've heard people say crazier things about me than driving a bus around the stadium, and you still show up and play the game. So, if they want to get excited about it, awesome, they can get excited about it, man. I'm just going to keep doing my process and play football."
- We saw the last time these two teams played that the pressure is on the team in red. If they go into the locker room with a close score at halftime, that pressure will hit them again.
- Tackle Kolton Miller's back is a huge deal.
- When healthy, he is one of the best, if not the best at his position in the NFL.
- While not foolproof, I can tell you in the building that they are expecting defensive tackle Maurice Hurst to play.
- If fullback Alec Ingold plays, and they are optimistic, that is another big deal for the Raiders.
- Tight end Travis Kelce is a great player. Give him all the respect. I can tell you that nobody with the Raiders would trade Darren Waller for Kelce.
- One AFC assistant GM said to me this week: "Kelce is so good, but could he play in an offense like Oakland? (Yes, he said Oakland) Darren is a great player as well, but Jon (Gruden) has so many weapons. That team (Raiders) is built on the team; I think Travis wouldn't be happy if the Chiefs spread it around more.
- I thought that was some brilliant analysis and should make Raider fans see another side to Waller.
- Not sure he will sell a lot of jerseys this Christmas, but Brandon Parker has been excellent. What he has done bouncing all over the offensive line and playing as well as he has is stunning. Jon Gruden agrees.
- "Brandon has gotten better. It's his third year now in the system. That jump from a small school to the NFL is big. He started a lot of games as a rookie."
- Cory Littleton is a good guy. He is liked by his teammates. But Nick Morrow turned a lot of heads with his play against Denver. Several people are hoping, even when Cory returns, that Nick gets more reps.
- "That was no doubt Nick Morrow's best game. That was a good game for any linebacker. If you go back and watch just Nick Morrow in the game, he made a lot of impact plays. Sideline to sideline, effort plays, he did a great job. We're going to have to be a lot better than we have been against Kelce in the past. He seems to dominate against us. He's dominated the league. He's a great presence out there and they know how to use him. They got a lot of other weapons that we have to worry about." High praise from Gruden.
- Paul Guenther set the Internet on fire with these comments: "I don't know how we can beat these guys with a full lineup at practice, let alone 3/4 of your lineup not here all week. What don't they have? We're playing the world champs. What don't they have?"
- If you aren't old enough to know who Lou Holtz is, take a second and Google him. I loved what Guenther said.
- This has been a week of psychological warfare. I already said Gruden had free rent in Andy Reid's head, and Guenther's little sisters of the poor comments were hilarious. All of the pressure is on the Chiefs—all of it.
- Derek Carr right now is one of the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL. Do not panic if he throws an interception this Sunday. They are going to ask him to take more risks. They know that they can equate to picks, but they also know they need Carr to lead this team to a win. They need Carr to show some gunslinger, just like last time.
- Greg Olson loves the maturation of Carr.
- "It's been about the understanding of defensive football. That allows us as an offensive group to be able to utilize his knowledge, really at the line of scrimmage, and get us into good plays or out of bad plays. It's really been good to see."
- A win or loss on Sunday will, of course, get the obligatory response of we are going to win a Super Bowl, or we stink.
- I think people need to understand something.
- I was laughed at by fans when I said this was a 10-6 team before the season. When they were at 500, I maintained it. I still do. I understand fans (fanatics) making one game of a 16 game season big, but the Raiders are a work in progress in all fairness.
- I said in Kansas City this week on the radio that next season is when I expect a legitimate fight for the AFC West title.
- With that being said, a win by the Silver and Black on Sunday will vault them into Super Bowl talk, ready or not.
OK, I need to stop. That is five pages already, people, and I still have more.
I have so many more notes, and I promise that I will get them all in. Our "Black Hole" articles will happen once a week.
I can tell you this; Raider Nation has a ton to be excited about. This article is already long, or I could give you many more reasons and players to be excited about. Keep your eyes out for the next "Black Hole," and please tell your friends about it.
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