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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Glory Days Long Gone For Raiders-Jets Rivalry

NEW YORK -- Jets vs. Raiders. That used to mean Joe Namath bombing away to Don Maynard. It meant Ben Davidson trying to take off Namath's head. It meant key matchups in the old American Football League. It meant Heidi.


On Sunday, Jets-Raiders is an afterthought. The host Jets are 0-5 and the Raiders are 1-4.


"It's bad to think this way, but we used to think the Jets were the worst team in the [American] National Football League,'' Raiders receiver James Jett said. "But now we have to wonder about ourselves."


Namath, Maynard and Davidson conjure up legendary images of pro gridiron football. The word "Heidi'' means one thing in U.S. sports vocabulary -- the Jets-Raiders game of Nov. 17, 1968.


It was then the Jets were leading late in the game and executives at the NBC television network made a fateful decision to switch programming from the game to the children's movie "Heidi." The Raiders rallied with two late touchdowns and won 43-32 and fans were outraged they missed the Raiders' comeback.


This year, almost nothing has been OK for either team. The Raiders are a minus-11 in turnover ratio, the league's worst. They have 14 giveaways, most in the AFC, and just three takeaways, tied for fewest in the NFL. Their top two running backs, Harvey Williams and Napoleon Kaufman, might be sidelined with injuries. Quarterback Jeff Hostetler has been shaky when he's been healthy. " We just have to win. Just win, baby and that's it,'' said Kaufman, who has a sore ankle.


The Jets have found themselves on the losing end for nine straight games. Coach Rich Kotite is 3-25 since Game 10 of the 1994 season with Philadelphia


They must pick it up without three mainstays who hurt their knees in the last week: middle linebacker Marvin Jones, receiver Jeff Graham and top overall draft choice Keyshawn Johnson.


"I'm not playing the way I've been playing,'' usually steady linebacker Mo Lewis said. "I've been playing without a lot of emotion, playing dead.''


Also looking dead thus far are New Orleans (0-5) and Atlanta (0-4) in the NFC West, Tampa Bay (0-5) in the NFC Central. The Saints are at home for Jacksonville, while the Falcons go to Detroit and the Buccaneers have a bye.


While four teams seek their first victory, the NFL's only undefeated squad, the Colts, have a tough assignment against Buffalo to remain unblemished.


Indianapolis has lost only two of its last 12 games against AFC East opponents -- with the two losses coming against Buffalo last season. "I don't think people in football forgot about them,'' Bills coach Marv Levy said. "They haven't been a real flamboyant type of team with a bunch of Reebok commercials and all that stuff. But they're very solid.''





The Bills are 10-2 at Rich Stadium against Indianapolis.