USA Today Images
The Oakland Raiders have already exceeded expectations this NFL season. The Silver & Black, at 7-8 SU, entered the year with a season win total of 5.5 and has showed glimpses of a young promising team about to make a move in the aging AFC West. Last week, Oakland bid farewell to veteran safety Charles Woodson in the Raiders’ final home game of the schedule, edging San Diego in overtime.
That storybook ending on Christmas Eve leaves Oakland open for a letdown in the season finale at Kansas City. While Oakland could enjoy playing the role of spoiler to another divisional foe, it will be tough to top the emotion of last Thursday. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders come out flat as touchdown dogs at Arrowhead.
The Toronto Raptors are battling to stay atop of the Atlantic Division while also holding on to their spot among the NBA’s upper echelon. Toronto has wins over heavyweights like Cleveland and San Antonio this season, but have struggled against mid-to-lower tier teams.
The Raptors can add another big win to their resume when they face LeBron James and the Cavs Monday, however, run the risk of looking ahead to that matchup when they play the Chicago Bulls Sunday. Toronto dropped a 104-97 loss to the Bulls Monday and have a busy schedule before playing Cleveland, hosting Washington, Charlotte and Chicago from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3.
The Winnipeg Jets embark on the five-game road trip this week, opening in Arizona on New Year’s Eve. The Jets will play three games in four nights when they visit San Jose and Anaheim on Jan. 2 and 3, and finish this stretch with games at Nashville and Dallas.
Winnipeg is among the worst road teams in hockey, owning a 6-12-1 record as a visitor. The Jets average only 2.37 goals per away game while giving up 3.32 goals against to home teams – tied for second worst in the NHL. Winnipeg has dropped five straight road games and has only one win away from home in its last dozen tilts on the road.