Mired in a five-game losing streak with a short week to prepare for Peyton Manning and the first-place Denver Broncos is a tough enough situation in the best of circumstances.
The Oakland Raiders have to prepare for it without their head coach.
Dennis Allen left the team after Sunday's 20-17 loss to Cleveland to fly to the Dallas area to be with his father, who has a serious medical issue. Allen is expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday night and be on the field Thursday when the Raiders (3-9) host the Broncos (9-3).
But until then, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will oversee the team and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will map out the defense.