The Oakland Raiders family suffered heartbreak on Saturday as owner Al Davis passed away at the age of 82. While Davis was getting up there in age, many Raiders fans were still stunned by news of his death. Fans have been pouring into Raiders headquarters to leave flowers and condolences and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Davis' death came the day before the Raiders are set to meet the Houston Texans in a key road game. While the fans and team continue to mourn the loss of Davis, they face a pivotal game if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. The Raiders are 2-2 but are looking like a contender in the AFC West. While they may not be in a must-win situation, a win over Houston would be huge for their playoff hopes.
The importance of the game was the primary story heading into this weekend. The death of Al Davis casts a cloud over the game and raises another issue entirely. How will the Raiders come out for this game? Will they show fire and emotion and "Win one for Al" ? Or could the emotion of Davis' death leave them relatively flat? I can't imagine this weekend's events not having some effect on the team, but it's just a question of how it affects them. The opening minutes of the game could tell us everything we need to know.