The two-game road trip that began with a forgettable 34-14 loss to the Bills on Sunday before 69,599 at New Era Field was supposed to tell us if Raiders are good or bad, legitimate or fraudulent, pretender or contender.
This is the place folks like to say is a drinking town with a sports problem, where purposefully setting your friends on fire isn’t as much criminal act as communal endorsement of a longstanding love affair with all things Buffalo Bills.
It’s either coaching or players or both for the Rebels, and yet perhaps all of the defensive nonsense has over time created a sort of systematic culture that breeds an expectation of failure.
It was an AFC West battle the Raiders had to absolutely win.
Thursday night isn’t as much an AFC showdown between the first-place Chiefs and a last-place Raiders team hoping to discover some sort of divisional relevance as it is unmitigated survival mode from the hosts.
The Raiders lost for a third straight time in falling to Baltimore 30-17 before 54,980 at the Coliseum, the beginning of three consecutive home games for a silver and black side that that is beyond pedestrian in almost every area right now.
It’s a slow and steady and incredibly frustrating climb when it comes to the Rebels trying to match and compete with the Aztecs, a two-time defending Mountain West champion that is ranked 19th in the nation.
The team that just a month ago was a popular Super Bowl pick at local sports books suddenly finds itself at 2-2 and welcoming three home games in the next 11 days.
Moving the ball right now is a Mile High problem for the Raiders, who fell at Denver 16-10 on Sunday.
Those words in the First Amendment about abridging the freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble advanced to a new level around the NFL this week.