Late For Work 12/31: Raiders Not Playing Spoilers

Plus the Steelers’ mind games, JJ talks Pro Bowl snubs and another tough pass rush.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, December 31st, 2009 at 7:58 am | Categories: Late For Work, Ryan Mink

Raiders Not Playing Spoilers

So what are the Raiders playing for Sunday?

According to Oakland defensive end Greg Ellis, via the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders aren’t out to rain on the Ravens’ parade. They just want to finish off the year with a win.

“It doesn’t motivate me to be no spoiler,” Ellis said Wednesday. “I want to be the one that’s going there and somebody’s trying to spoil my stuff.

“Being a spoiler, that may do it for some people, but to win the game, that’s what we want to do.”

Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour said guys are playing for their jobs.

“I think if you look at it, this is a production league, and if you don’t produce, if you don’t get wins, then it’s always going to be a lot of change the following year,” Seymour said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “And everyone is going to be evaluated, so you don’t want your name on that chopping block.”

Well, the Raiders are pretty darn good at playing the spoiler anyway. Last year they knocked off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their final game, sending the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs instead of the Bucs.

And as we all likely know by now, the Raiders have been adept at shocking top-tier teams this year, with wins over two division winners – the Eagles and Bengals – at home, and two wild-card contenders – the Steelers and Broncos – on the road.

The Ravens have a history of fending off upsets, however. In the past two years, Baltimore is the NFL’s only team to never lose to a team that had a losing record at the time they played or when the season ended. This year, the Ravens have beaten teams with losing records by an average of 26 points.

Steelers Pulling Out Every Trick

It seems that Pittsburgh’s LaMarr Woodley is trying to use some reverse psychology on the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals.

According to the Associated Press, Woodley predicts the Patriots and Bengals will “lay down” in their final games against the Texans and Jets, respectively. He is of course hoping they won’t. The Steelers need to beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and get losses by the Jets or Texans to get into the playoffs.

Woodley challenged the Patriots’ and Bengals’ pride by saying the Steelers would never rest starters no matter how meaningless the game was.

“We definitely wouldn’t lay down because it’s a pride thing with us, going out there winning ballgames and shutting teams down,” Woodley said.

Woodley also added that the Patriots and Bengals would purposefully lose to keep the Steelers out because, “No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That’s just how it is. Everybody knows we’re a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year.”

This comes a day after Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin said he doesn’t care who the Patriots or Bengals start.

Jarret Doesn’t Feel Snubbed

Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson told the Baltimore Sun that he doesn’t think he got snubbed from the 2010 Pro Bowl. Johnson is having the best season of his career and has been a major figure in the Ravens’ defense this season with 67 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions.

Denver’s Elvis Dumervil, Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and Houston rookie Brian Cushing were selected ahead of Johnson.

“I don’t think so,” Johnson said of being snubbed. “There are a lot of guys who could say that. There’s LaMarr Woodley and some other guys who didn’t make it. I’m not real worried about it.”

Do you think Jarret got snubbed?

Another Tough Pass Rush

The Sun’s Edward Lee reports that the Raiders’ defensive front ranks fifth in the NFL with 26 sacks. It’s surprising considering Oakland’s defense is ranked 27th in yard allowed per game and 23rd in points allowed per game.

Luckily, it looks like the Ravens might get left tackle Jared Gaither back for Sunday as he practiced fully Wednesday.

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