For the final time as area rivals, the Oakland Raiders will battle the San Francisco 49ers. In essence, this game feels like the end of an area, While the NFC/AFC West see one another every four years, the Raiders and 49ers enjoyed a fierce rivalry. Now, don’t let attempts at sportsmanship fool you. These fanbases despise each other. With the heat of a million suns, each respective fanbase displays a palpable disdain for the other. If the on=field products appears boring, look for excitement in the stands. Hopefully will behave.
If you look at the Raiders and Niners, these two teams appear at opposite yet familiar points into their renaissance. On one hand, the Raiders chose a veteran coach that prefers grizzled players to lead the charge. Jon Gruden prefers seasoned leaders. Conversely, Kyle Shanahan built his roster on the backs of upward trending young talent. While either can work, each possesses a fatal drawback. For the Raiders, players like Derrick Johnson and Reggie Nelson continued to show their age. Meanwhile, 49ers franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo chose to stay in bounds, instead of running out. As a result, Garoppolo suffered a jarring hit, and subsequent ACL injury.
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When the Niners handed Jimmy Garoppolo 137 million dollars, the team threw its support firmly behind him. From owner to coach, Jimmy G will lead the Niners. Yet, after multiple coach changes in Oakland, Derek Carr sits in a rather peculiar spot. While the general manager thought enough, rumors swirl about how the head coach and de facto GM feels.
If you look at their accomplishments, Carr should merit more organizational respect that Garoppolo. Yet, Jimmy G can quietly rehab while Carr catches grief from snap to snap. With both teams playing for little more than pride, the test comes when the Raiders step into Santa Clara
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While few fanbases travel like RaiderNation, they will only need to make a short trip to Levi’s Stadium. With relocation, rumors and uneasiness hovering, the Raiders actually need this win. First, any time, the team can commandeer the headlines for something positive, fans will cheer. Second, for the players that do not appear in the future plans will look to shine, in hopes of landing a 2019 contract elsewhere. For many reasons, the Battle of the Bay finale promises excitement. Most importantly, it is Raiders/Niners. How can you not like that?