Coming to you from next to the fireplace at Fiddler's Green while watching The Big Game, it's your American Football Spectacular Week 13 preview for the Raiders!

* Houston vs. Oakland
Sunday, December 3, 2006. 1:15 PM, PST.
Week 13
The Battle Of The Trough

After losing four straight games to every team in the AFC West and one franchise that used to be in the division for good measure (@SEA; DEN; @KC; @ SD), the Raiders limp home.

In uglier times early on this season before the wins versus ARI and PIT, this Week 13 game against the flailing Houston Texans had been projected as the Raiders' best chance to get a win at all.

The rest of the season for Oakland looks like this: @CIN; STL; KC; @NYJ. Oakland will be hard-pressed to upend any of these franchises: a powerful hot-and-cold streaky team, a team with some offensive talent but no identity, RB Larry Johnson's team, and then the surprisingly not-so-useless Jets with rookie Head Coach Eric Mangini.

And now, this wknd's game at the Oakland Henhouse/Coliseum against the Texans is going to be blacked out on local TV. Oh, great. The first blackout of the season for the Raiders. I mean, we knew this was coming, and it's this game, but it's still an annoyance.

The trough is the low point in a wave's progress, and that's what this week is for Oakland's 2006 season. Their trough. It will not get any easier than this.