You've probably been nauseated by prediction stories from the various preseason magazines written in June.
I will not claim that I picked the Oakland Raiders to meet the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXVIII only to rescind that pick now that Michael Vick will miss the first month of the season. Instead, we'll use the holiday to forecast what will happen within the Oakland Raiders:
1) Despite an, at times, dreadful preseason in which the Raiders went 1-3, expect the exhibition campaign not to carry into the regular season. Bottom line: the AFC lacks a truly overwhelming team so Oakland will be in the mix as long as age and injury do not become a factor.
3) Rookie RB Justin Fargas will definitely contribute on special teams but the Raiders will discover that he is too good not to play occasionally in the backfield.
6) Now that the speculation of keeping C Barret Robbins is over, look for Robbins to become the starter once he recovers sufficiently from his knee injury.
8) CB Charles Woodson will stay healthy, have the best season of his career – and then price himself out of Oakland.
9) KR Ronney Jenkins will consistently provide good field position and return at least one kickoff for a touchdown.
10) Expect to hear throughout the season that 2003 is the Raiders last chance to win the Super Bowl before they become eight-zillion dollars over the salary cap.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org