Thursday's announcement that this weekend's Raiders game will be blacked out locally may be a maneuver of mercy. These hapless Raiders are 14-point underdogs against Philadelphia -- and they're at home.
A double-digit point spread in the NFL is typically considered fool's gold by bookies. But these Raiders have lost their last three straight games by an average of 27 points apiece.
Their best receiver probably won't play. Chaz Schilens was described as "still likely a week away" by the Associated Press, given his recovery from a broken foot. Schilens did return to the practice field this week, but Tom Cabletold the Chronicle that Schilens won't start even when he is ready to play.
Meanwhile, the Raiders' crappiest and most overpaid receiver wants to be traded. Javon Walker told the San Jose Mercury News that he wouldn't mind a trade before Tuesday's deadline. Good luck with that, Mr. $3 million-dollar-salary-for-sitting-on-the-bench.
At quarterback, JaMarcus Russell is enjoying his most disastrous season yet. Russell admitted this week that he's been fined for being overweight, weighing in at a defensive end-like 275 pounds. The best that can be said for Russell is that he is no longer the NFL's lowest-rated starting quarterback. The Browns' Derek Anderson completed only two passes in a full 60 minutes of football this past Sunday to earn that distinction, sinking below even Russell's 47.1 QB rating.
But Anderson actually won his game, while JaMarcus was busy losing fumbles and getting killed 44-7. Russell can be described as "number two" in more ways than just the numeral on his jersey.
And the controversy surrounding their head coach's alleged assault of an assistant continues to get weirder by the day. Estranged Raiders assistant Randy Hanson is blowing back against rumors that other Raiders assistants aren't corroborating his story by offering to take a polygraph test. Plus he's offering to pay for Tom Cable to take a polygraph test -- and a drug test.
Any Bay Area fans complaining about not being able to watch this wreck of a team Sunday should probably also be subjected to a drug test.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who also recommends drug testing for whoever designed those alternate Seahawks uniforms.