Leading Off

Will Raiders be better than 49ers?

Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) during mini camp at an NFL football facility Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Alameda.
Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) during mini camp at an NFL football facility Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Alameda. AP

It’s the middle of June, and sports fans are enjoying exciting matchups in the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, yet the NFL still is big news.

Of course it is – it’s the NFL.

It’s 13 weeks before the next game that counts will be played, so what better time for this debate: Which Bay Area NFL team will be better this season?

At this time last year, 49ers fans would have laughed at Raiders fans who wanted to debate such a question. The 49ers were considered Super Bowl contenders, and the Raiders were coming off back-to-back 4-12 seasons. But the 49ers struggled in 2014, going 8-8 and slamming the door on the Jim Harbaugh era. Still, the Raiders were even worse, winning just three games and firing another coach.

Fast forward five months: The Raiders are rising, and the 49ers keep losing players who are at or near the peak of their careers.

Start with the most prominent position.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is coming off an impressive rookie season, and now he has more targets in draft pick Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree, who crossed the bay.

The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick took the sports world by storm after replacing Alex Smith in 2012 and leading the team to the NFC Championship Game in back-to-back seasons and one Super Bowl. Now there’s speculation the 49ers are willing to part with him for the right deal.

Last December, legend Jerry Rice might have surprised some fans during an interview on Sirius FM Bleacher Report Radio. When asked which quarterback he would pick to start an NFL team: Rice said, “If I was a GM right now, I would probably say it would be Derek Carr.”

When was the last time anyone picked a Raiders quarterback over a 49ers QB? Maybe NFL MVP Rich Gannon over Jeff Garcia in 2002?

And which new coach do you have more confidence in, the Raiders’ Jack del Rio or the 49ers’ Jim Tomsula?

Tom Couzens: (916) 321-1097, tcouzens@sacbee.com, @tomcouzens


  • WHAT TO WATCH: Soccer, Women’s World Cup, United States vs. Sweden, 5 p.m., Ch.40: Sweden is ranked fifth in the world and coached by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “The Raiders are suddenly by far the most stable NFL franchise in the Bay Area. And they’re on a one-year lease.” – @timkawakami
  • ON THIS DATE: On June 12, 1981, Larry Holmes stopped Leon Spinks in the third round for the WBC heavyweight title in Detroit.