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August 26, 2013

Believe it or not: Raiders feel optimistic

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders continue to operate on the premise that they know something you don’t know.

Having wrapped up training camp as well as preparations to face the Chicago Bears on Friday at 7 p.m. at O.co Coliseum, the Raiders seem resolute in the belief they’ve got something good going in 2013, even in the face of last week’s first-half face plant by the starters in New Orleans.

“We’re a different team now then we were at the start of camp,” quarterback Matt Flynn said. “We’ve developed a lot of chemistry and I learned there’s a big passion for the game from everyone, from top to bottom.

“I like this team, I like the work ethic and I have big expectations for us.”

A strong performance against Chicago would go a long way toward giving merit to the sentiments of Flynn and teammates who have expressed optimism.

While the Raiders have put the New Orleans game in the past, having the starters fall behind 23-0 until late in the first half looked all too familiar to a fan base that hasn’t seen a winning season in a decade.

But that was against Drew Brees, who always lights up the Raiders, as well as on the road in a domed environment.

Playing the Bears, coached by former Raiders offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, affords the opportunity to play at home and test themselves in a game for which they have devised a regular-season type game plan.

It is also hugely important for roster hopefuls with the first cutdown to 75 players coming Tuesday.

“I don’t think there is any question that these next couple of weeks are make or break games for a lot of guys,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “There’s still a lot of positions on this team where we haven’t made our mind up exactly whose those guys are going to be.”

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