TEMPE, Ariz. — The Oakland Raiders have yet to win a game this season, though if the Arizona Cardinals want to keep them winless, they say that fact needs to be ignored.
“If you let that seep in they’ll be 1-5 and we’ll be 4-2,” Cardinals defensive lineman and former Raider Tommy Kelly said. “We’ve just got to understand, they want to win. You think they’re going out there intentionally trying to lose games?
“That’s what I never understand sometimes about fans, they think the team stinks, but do you think those folks are playing bad on purpose? No, they want to win just as badly as we do.”
While the Raiders are winless for a reason, rare is the team that goes through its season without notching a ‘W’. And though the past has next-to-nothing to do with this year’s Cardinals, the franchise has been on the wrong side of the scoreboard before in games like this.
In 2004, Arizona lost to a 0-4 San Francisco team on the road. In fact, that season Arizona provided the 49ers’ only two wins of the season, with both coming down to overtime and both finishing with a 31-28 score. Going even farther back, the Cards provided the 1996 New York Jets with their only win of the season by way of a 31-21 decision in Week 9 .
While neither one of those Cardinals team was as good as this year’s, the point is in the NFL anyone can be beat on any given day. The Raiders have not been far off from pulling out some victories, as three of their five losses have come by seven points or less.
“It’s just the next opponent,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said, ignoring the Raiders’ record. “You look at the tape and you watch (linebacker) Khalil Mack fly around and those other guys on there, and (quarterback) Derek Carr is playing outstanding — he’s not a rookie anymore, he’s got five games under his belt, so this is a quality opponent.”
“It’s a very talented team,” Cardinals QB Carson Palmer added. “You can’t look at records; you have to look at the film. You look at the New England game and how they played in New England and the way they fought against the Chargers last week.
“This is a very talented group and a group we’ve got to be at our best at.”
If the Cardinals can play at their best, you’d have to think they have a good shot at leaving Oakland Alameda Coliseum with a victory.