Ray Ratto

Ratto: Playoffs for 49ers, Raiders? No chance

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Ratto: Playoffs for 49ers, Raiders? No chance

Sept. 6, 2011

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This isnt going to end up with the punch line being Andrew Luck. It just isnt, so dont get your hopes up. Or down, as the case might be.

Neither the 49ers nor Raiders have either the gumption, the brass, the contempt for their audiences, the resources or the good fortune required to throw enough games to win the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

And thats assuming they would even try. I mean, Andrew Luck might be the new Peyton Manning, or Dan Marino, or . . . oh, fill in your favorite, you know where were heading here . . . but to get there, you have to be so bad, or hope the team that does get his rights is so stupid, that it can be done without going fingers-up to an entire season.

In short, too many games, too many ways to screw it up with success without quite having enough ways to make success mean something. To wit:

WEEK ONE

SEATTLE at 49ERS
RAIDERS at DENVER (Monday Night)

Tarvaris Jackson comes to a place hes never won, a fact which many 49ers have in common with him. Seahawks arent very good on the road, or in general. WIN.

Based on the preseason, Denver looks like a good pull here, though undoing the rash Josh McDaniels Era will take some time. LOSE

(49ers 1-0, Raiders 0-1)
WEEK TWO

RAIDERS at BUFFALO
DALLAS at 49ERS

Buffalo is really under-good, but at home . . . oh, they could play in Chan Gailey living room and not get this one. WIN.

If Dallas is to be taken seriously, it has to win here. Has to, I tell you. Of course, thats Dallas problem. LOSE

(Raiders 1-1, 49ers 1-1)

WEEK THREE

49ERS at CINCINNATI
NEW YORK JETS at RAIDERS

The Bengals may actually be worse than Buffalo, but home field does help some. Probably not enough, though. WIN

Rex Ryan cannot let his team give up a single winnable game, even if it is three time zones away. Talent imbalance matters. LOSE.

(49ers 2-1, Raiders 1-2)

WEEK FOUR

49ERS at PHILADELPHIA
NEW ENGLAND at RAIDERS

An excellent chance for two hunch routs. Not upset routs. Straight routs. If you need to know why, you dont watch enough football to have gotten this far into the story. LOSE AND LOSE

(49ers 2-2; Raiders 1-3)
WEEK FIVE

TAMPA BAY at 49ERS
RAIDERS at HOUSTON

Weve seen Houston already, and have every reason to believe in the Texans full wingspan and plumage. LOSE

Tampa, on the other hand, doesnt inspire quite as much this far west, especially looking ahead to New Orleans. WIN

(49ers 3-2, Raiders 1-4)

WEEK SIX

49ERS at DETROIT
CLEVELAND at RAIDERS

Hard to see Team Harbaugh nailing this down, as Lions are better and at home. LOSE

Browns are supposed to be better, but well believe that when it is rammed into our red-rimmed eyes. WIN

(49ers 3-3, Raiders 2-4)

WEEK SEVEN

KANSAS CITY at OAKLAND

This looks like a game in which the Raiders can eliminate themselves from the Luck-Fest. Chiefs are better, but not better enough. WIN

49ers have a bye, a week they struggled with under Mike Singletary a year ago.

(49ers 3-3, Raiders 3-4)

WEEK EIGHT

CLEVELAND at 49ERS

Dont have a great reason why just a hunch. Fans will start demanding Scott Tolzein, though, and that should be enough of a hint. LOSE

Raiders load up on Denver packages during bye week.

(Raiders 3-4, 49ers 3-4)
WEEK NINE

49ERS at WASHINGTON
DENVER at RAIDERS

This one hinges on just how bad you think the Redskins are. As for 49ers, youre already getting a sense of that. LOSE

Raiders are back at sea level. First chance to see how well Hue Jackson absorbs and reacts. WIN

(Raiders 4-4, 49ers 3-5)

WEEK TEN

RAIDERS at SAN DIEGO (Thursday)
NEW YORK GIANTS at 49ERS

Not a big believer in Raiders on the road after a short week against the divisions best team. LOSE

Not a big believer in 49ers at home against a superior team at any time. LOSE

(Raiders 4-5, 49ers 3-6)

WEEK ELEVEN

RAIDERS at MINNESOTA
ARIZONA at 49ERS

Minnesota is one of those wild card teams who could be really good or really bad, but Vikings will be motivated to get to Los Angeles first. LOSE

Arizona isnt; mostly bad. WIN

(Raiders 4-6, 49ers 4-6)
WEEK TWELVE

49ERS at BALTIMORE (Thursday)
CHICAGO at RAIDERS

The superior team theory, twice. We like chalk here. LOSE, WITH TRYPTOPHAN; LOSE.

(Raiders 4-7, 49ers 4-7)
WEEK THIRTEEN

RAIDERS at MIAMI
SAINT LOUIS at 49ERS

Dolphins are very definitely in Luck sweepstakes (sorry, Andy), and will prove it here. WIN

Rams are best team in the division. A chicken with a piano is the best musician in a coop full of them. WIN

(Raiders 5-7, 49ers 5-7)

WEEK FOURTEEN

RAIDERS at GREEN BAY
49ERS at ARIZONA

Green Bay is really good. LOSE.

Arizona isnt, but this is the NFC West, so that is a redundancy. LOSE

(Raiders 5-8, 49ers 5-8)

WEEK FIFTEEN

DETROIT at RAIDERS
PITTSBURGH at 49ERS (Monday)

Lions on the road arent as good, and the playoffs have already eluded both teams. LOSE

Steelers have much to play for, but 49ers are still in rancid division race. Steelers will stop running game, and thatll be that. LOSE

(Raiders 5-9, 49ers 5-9)

WEEK SIXTEEN

RAIDERS at KANSAS CITY
49ERS at SEATTLE

This is the 200-yard Darren McFadden game weve all been waiting for. Merry Christmas. WIN.

And this will be the only road win by an NFC West team against another NFC West team. Happy Non-Sectarian Festival. WIN

(Raiders 6-9, 49ers 6-9)

WEEK SEVENTEEN

49ERS at SAINT LOUIS
SAN DIEGO at OAKLAND

Rams clinch division with this one, a proud 8-8 team with no discernible strengths past Sam Bradford. Ringing out the old. LOSE

Chargers long ago clinched division, but always get a kick out of putting a whipping on their Californii brethren. Ringing in the new. LOSE

(Raiders 6-10, 49ers 6-10)

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

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AP

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
 
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
 
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
 
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
 
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
 
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
 
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”