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The Raiders are finally starting to play the Jon Gruden-way. It may have taken them most of the season they have looked more like a complete NFL team these past few games. Over the course of the last four weeks, they have won twice and lost to the Chiefs by a single touchdown.

They have moved from the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to number three. This is the difference between picking up a franchise player like Nick Bosa or a Jonah Williams. Still a great player, but not someone the Raiders can necessarily build the team around.

In no way should the Raiders play to lose, but after all this is a race to the bottom. The number one overall pick is no longer in their hands, which can cause issues for them going into the draft.

When Jon Gruden traded away his two best players for first round picks, he probably expected those picks to be rather high. Instead, both the Cowboys and Bears are having playoff-caliber seasons and therefore those picks will be late in the first round. They still have three picks in the first round, but they want to control the draft, not be left with the third overall pick and have their choice dictated to them.

With the 49ers and Cardinals sitting on 3-10 with the Raiders, the hope is that both teams can win at least one more game. It’s always a great day when the team wins but is winning a game now worth losing out on a player who could transform your franchise into a quality team of the future? This is something the Raiders are surely talking about in-house.

The Bengals are 5-8 and on a five-game losing streak since coming out of the bye in Week 9. They have looked terrible in recent weeks and their season got worse when quarterback Andy Dalton was placed on Injured Reserve with a thumb injury. Not to mention star receiver AJ Green is also missing with a season-ending toe ailment.

Though the Raiders do have to travel and the Bengals are favored by three points. Raiders fans might be satisfied to get a win but can take solace that a loss won’t be so bad either.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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