AFC West: audio
|Oakland and San Francisco have fallen on hard times recently. Who is more likely to be successful this season: Darren McFadden and the Raiders or Patrick Willis' 49ers?|
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Raiders and 49ers each have strung together six consecutive losing seasons, sustained futility that once would have seemed unfathomable for either Bay Area franchise.
Which team stands a better chance of breaking through this season? AFC West blogger Bill Williamson took the Raiders and I took the 49ers during the latest Football Today podcast, with Jeremy Green of Scouts Inc. as the moderator and producer Jason Soderberg picking the winner.
Bill and I had some fun with the fisticuffs Raiders head coach Tom Cable allegedly unleashed on assistant Randy Hanson. Perhaps the rest of us were premature in awarding toughness points to 49ers head coach Mike Singletary for merely talking about hitting people in the mouth.
We debated whether 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis or Raiders running back Darren McFadden would have the bigger season. Bill said he thought Oakland had the potential to field the best rushing attack in the NFL this season. While Willis will be harder to evaluate because he will not carry the football 15 or 20 times a game, I left little doubt as to which player I thought would enjoy the stronger career. Willis is already a perennial Pro Bowl player. I think he has a chance to put together Hall of Fame credentials before he's finished.
The debate featured quite a bit of discussion about the quarterback situations of each team. I'd take Shaun Hill over what JaMarcus Russell offers right now, although Jeff Garcia's presence in Oakland does give the Raiders a proven fallback option.
Check out the Football Today podcast for the rest of the discussion.