In 2002, the Oakland Raiders lost the Super Bowl. That is the last time the Raiders made the playoffs. That is the last time they finished above .500.

Well, after Sunday night’s impressive 30-20 win over the Broncos, Oakland is 7-2 and atop the AFC West.

Are the Raiders for real?

“They flat out won that battle last night,” NFL Network analyst Heath Evans said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I’m not sure the score shows exactly the type of game it was. The fact that they were able to put up those type of rushing yards, you better take notice about what this offense is doing.”

One week after Derek Carr threw for 513 yards, the Raiders ran for 218 yards, with Latavius Murray rushing 20 times for 114 yards and three scores. Denver was dominated at the point of atttack.

So, again, are the Raiders for real?

“If we’re going to put them against Tom Brady and the way this offense is playing and the way the Patriots’ defense is playing – which hasn’t been great at times, but it’s consistent and it’s bend-but-don’t break – can Carr go strike-for-strike with Tom Brady?” Evans asked. “I’m going to say clearly no until I see it. . . . But they earned my respect. I think they played in such a way that represented Jack Del Rio and the way he wants that team playing.”

The Raiders, who have started 7-2 or better just four times since 1990, are off to their best start since 2001.

Los Angeles (3-5), meanwhile, has lost four straight games and has mustered just 10 points in back-to-back games, both at home.

Why have the Rams not gone to Jared Goff yet?

“Because I don’t think he’s anywhere close to being ready,” Evans said. “I don’t know that for a fact. It’s just a gut feeling form the tape I watched from the little bit of practice I saw in the preseason. If I’m the head coach or I’m Les Snead or the owner, if I see the offense struggling . . . the only reasonable explanation is, in my mind, (is Goff isn’t ready).”

Sticking in the NFC, the Packers (4-4) have lost three of four, including Sunday’s 31-26 loss against the Colts. Afterward, Aaron Rodgers called out his teammates for their “lack of juice,” saying they didn’t have “the same kind of enthusiasm and encouragement that we had the previous two weeks” and that the team needs to “look deep in the mirror because that’s not acceptable.”

Why would Rodgers call out his team like that?

“I think Aaron always tries to be good to the media. He tries to give them what they want, which I respect,” Evans said. “But I just don’t ever think the way to go about challenging your team or calling out an aspect of your play or of your execution or of the game plan is ever in public. If I was Aaron, I wouldn’t have been baited into a question that way. It’s his job. He’s the captain. Everyone said for years now he’s the best quarterback to ever play the game. He better find a way to start playing like it.”


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