The Oakland Raiders organization likes to call itself "The Team of the Decades" and boasts about being the winningest team in pro football since Al Davis took over in 1963.
The Raiders boast about their three Super Bowl championships as if they were the old Celtics or Canadiens. They make the Yankees and their 26 world championships humble by comparison.
The Raiders seem to have hit a new low.
After last Sunday's rout at the hands of the hated San Diego Chargers, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News wrote:
"We can now conclude that this is Al Davis' greatest nightmare and worst creation.
"You know what this team is? It's the worst Davis has fielded in his 41-year tenure with the Raiders -- from top to bottom, from offense to defense, from coaching staff to executive suite to practice squad."
Defensive tackle Warren Sapp signed with the Raiders as a free agent this year, hoping to go to another Super Bowl. He thinks this year with the Silver and Black is worse than his worst years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Shoot, when we were 1-7 with the Bucs, we weren't this bad," he said. "You know the Bucs in '96? We got into some games and fought our (butts) off and lost some close ones.
"But we just got flat-out embarrassed (last Sunday). That's the only way to put it."
The Raiders' defense, supposedly bolstered by the signing of Sapp, Ted Washington and safety Ray Buchanan, has allowed 30 or more points in five consecutive games, all losses.
The Raiders are 6-18 since the beginning of 2003 and have lost their last 13 regular-season road games.
What's more, the Raiders are starting to feel the pinch at the gate. They drew only 45,337 for their last home game against New Orleans. The game against the Bills in Week Two drew only 53,610 nondiscerning Bay Area fans.
For their failures, the 2-5 Raiders and the 1-6 Carolina Panthers have earned the dubious honor of having their game named "Dog Game of the Day."
Here's the lineup of appealing and not-so-appealing games on the Week Nine schedule:
Game of the day
Eagles (7-0) at Steelers (6-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Eagles favored by 1 1/2 points.
The scoop: During World War II, these franchises merged to form the Steagles. . . . Which streak will end today? The Eagles' seven-game winning streak or Steelers rookie Ben Roethlisberger's unbeaten run as a starting quarterback? . . . Roethlisberger already has thrown more TD passes (nine) than any rookie QB in Steelers history, topping Terry Hanratty's record of eight. . . . Steelers running back Duce Staley faces his former team for the first time. He's run for 100 yards or more in four of his last five games. . . . Roethlisberger will have to deal with the tactics of blitz-happy Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
Outlook: Steelers are for real. Eagles are not a 16-0 team. Pittsburgh, 23-17.
Vikings (5-2) at Colts (4-3)
TV: Ch. 7, Monday 9 p.m.
The line: Colts favored by 7 points.
The scoop: Could be a sad day for Bills fans. If Colts QB Peyton Manning and wide receiver Marvin Harrison hook up for four completions they will surpass Jim Kelly-Andre Reed combination (663) as No. 1 in NFL history. . . . Colts have gained 951 yards last two weeks and lost both games. In its three defeats, Indy has averaged 449 yards. . . . Vikings will be without WR Randy Moss (hamstring).
Outlook: Without Moss, Vikes can't win shootout with Colts. Indy, 42-27.
Patriots (6-1) at Rams (4-3)
TV: Ch. 4, 4:15 p.m.
The line: Rams by 1.
The scoop: Last time teams met was in Super Bowl XXXVI (2001 season). Pats won, 20-17, but Rams have won last four during regular season. . . . Pats' attention wandered a bit, and that was fatal against tough Steelers on road last week. New England must go without cornerback Ty Law (foot) and hope RB Corey Dillon (thigh) comes back. . . . St. Louis coming off bye week after losing at Miami the week before.
Outlook: Rams different team on home carpet. St. Louis, 27-20.
Best of the rest
Chiefs (3-4) at Bucs (2-5)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Chiefs by 3.
The scoop: Amazing Chiefs have rolled up 101 points and 1,130 yards in last two weeks (fourth most in consecutive games in NFL history) and are averaging 406 yards for season. . . . Bucs won two of three before bye last week, but one win was over Chicago. . . . Chiefs RB Priest Holmes has 14 TDs already. . . . Bucs WR Michael Clayton leads NFL rookies with 37 receptions.
Outlook: Chiefs on a roll and see chance to win AFC West despite 0-4 start. Kansas City, 24-10.
Browns (3-4) at Ravens (4-3)
TV: ESPN, 8:30 p.m.
The line: Ravens by 6.
The scoop: Old Browns versus New Browns. Cleveland coming off bye week while Ravens lost on road to unbeaten Eagles, 15-10. . . . Browns' offense improving, put up 23, 34 and 31 points against Steelers, Bengals and Eagles last three games. . . . Ravens have allowed fewest points (100) in league but have scored only 127. RB Jamal Lewis returns to lineup after two-game suspension.
Outlook: Cleveland set for strong finish. Browns, 17-16.
Jets (6-1) at Bills (2-5)
TV: Ch. 4, 1 p.m.
The line: Jets by 3.
The scoop: No kidding. They're talking Super Bowl in New York after Monday night trashing of Dolphins. . . . Bills' defense is No. 1 in league, but last three opponents were Dolphins, Ravens and Cardinals, who averaged only 195 yards. . . . Jets needed last-minute Doug Brien field goal for 16-14 win in Giants Stadium last month. . . . Jets have won four of last five in series. . . . Conservative Jets tied for fewest turnovers in league (five).
Outlook: A perfect time for underachieving Bills to do some damage. Buffalo, 24-20.
Texans (4-3) at Broncos (5-3)
Kickoff: 4:15 p.m.
The line: Broncos by 6 1/2 .
The scoop: Broncos lost at home despite 567 yards offense against Atlanta. . . . Texans, after starting 0-2, have won four of last five with road wins at Kansas City and Tennessee, so Denver crowd shouldn't intimidate them. . . . QB David Carr ranks fourth in AFC with 99.7 rating behind Manning, Drew Brees and Roethlisberger.
Outlook: George Foster cheap shot may have been turning point in Denver season. Texans, 31-24.
Cowboys (3-4) at Bengals (2-5)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Cowboys by 1.
The scoop: Only three INTs thrown by Vinny Testaverde marred a solid Dallas performance in home win over Lions last week that ended three-game losing streak. Cowboys need win today to set up possible playoff drive in second half of season. . . . Bengals are 7-3 at home under Marvin Lewis.
Outlook: Cowboys plod to 21-13 victory.
Redskins (2-5) at Lions (4-3)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Lions by 3 1/2 .
The scoop: Detroit never has beaten the Redskins in Washington, going 0-20 since 1939, but Lions have won last two games with old rival in Motor City. . . . Redskins are 1-2 on the road this season, winning at Chicago. Lions are 1-2 at home with losses to the Eagles and Packers. . . . Lions still last in league in offense but also tied for last in giveaways.
Outlook: Joe Gibbs still looking for old touch. Lions, 27-17.
Bears (2-5) at Giants (5-2)
TV: Ch. 29, 4:05 p.m.
The line: Giants by 9.
The scoop: Storied rivalry goes back to the 1930s and the famous sneaker game. Read Jim Dent's "Monster of the Midway" for glimpse into what NFL was like in the pre-World War II era. . . . This will not be one of the great Giants-Bears games. . . . Chicago struggling at quarterback, and Tom Coughlin has Giants playing resourceful and effective football. Giants rebounded from home loss to Lions by routing Vikings in Minneapolis last week. RB Tiki Barber having MVP season.
Outlook: Giants, 31-10.
Saints (3-4) at Chargers (5-3)
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Chargers by 6 1/2 .
The scoop: Two old Bills linebackers, Jim Haslett and Marty Schottenheimer, lead teams in this one. Chargers are surprise team of the year and their quarterback Drew Brees is surprise player of year. Schottenheimer is Coach of Year. So far. . . . Saints coming off bye week after scoring 31 points twice, in loss to Minnesota and win over Raiders. New Orleans can score, but defense is another matter.
Outlook: Brees should pick apart the Saints, but Bolts may still be giddy after rout of hated Raiders. San Diego, 35-31.
Seahawks (4-3) at 49ers (1-6)
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Seahawks by 7.
The scoop: After three straight losses, Seahawks were not impressive at home against injury-riddled Panthers. They routed Niners, 34-0, in Seattle in September. . . . Niners are almost as bad as Raiders, giving Bay Area two dreadful teams.
Outlook: If Seahawks can lose at Arizona, they are no cinch in San Francisco. Seattle, 30-27.
Cardinals (2-5) at Dolphins (1-7)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Dolphins by 3.
The scoop: Injuries to Junior Seau and Tim Bowens meant more bad news for poor Dolphins. Almost makes Bills fans feel sorry for them. Right. . . . Special teams failures killed Cards against Bills last week. . . . Dolphins quit at Jets in embarrassing display.
Outlook: Wolves at coach Dave Wannstedt's door. Miami, 13-10.
Dog of the day
Raiders (2-6) at Panthers (1-6)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Panthers by 7.
The scoop: Even Kyle Boller of Ravens (65.3) has better passer rating than the Raiders' Kerry Collins (64.6 with 5-11 TD-INT ratio). Collins has never faced Carolina, his original team, so this is his first visit since he left in 1998. . . . Carolina has allowed fewest sacks in NFL (nine). Undrafted rookie free agent Joey Harris led Carolina with 45 yards rushing in loss at Seattle. . . . Panthers have lost five straight since win at Kansas City in Week Two.
Outlook: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Carolina, 21-13.