2016 NFL Preview: Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders have been a joke of an NFL franchise for almost 15 straight years now. However, it looks like things are finally changing in Oakland. With a franchise QB in place, one of the best offensive lines in football, and a defense that looks like it has the talent to be one of the best in the NFL….is this the year the Raiders make a return to the playoffs?

Let’s find out!

 

raiders

Oakland Raiders

The Stats:

Record Last Ten Seasons: 7-9 (2015), 3-13 (2014), 4-12 (2013), 4-12 (2012), 8-8 (2011), 8-8 (2010), 5-11 (2009), 5-11 (2008), 4-12 (2007), 2-14 (2006)

Last Playoff Appearance: Super Bowl XXXVII vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last Playoff Win: 2002 AFC Championship vs. Tennnessee Titans

Super Bowl Titles Won: 3 (Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XV, Super Bowl XVIII)

Passing Leader for 2015: Derek Carr (3,987 yards, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions)

Rushing Leader for 2015: Latavius Murray (1,066 yards, 6 touchdowns)

Receiving Leader for 2015: Amari Cooper (1,070 yards, 6 touchdowns)

The Head Coach:

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Jack Del Rio

Overall Record (as a head coach): 75-80

Record With Team: 7-9

Previous NFL Jobs: New Orleans Saints Assistant Strength Coach (1997), New Orleans Saints Linebackers Coach (1998), Baltimore Ravens Linebackers Coach (1999-2001), Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator (2002), Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach (2003-2011), Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator (2012-2014), Denver Broncos Interim Head Coach (2013)

My Grade: C+

The Team:

(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)

Player Grade Guide:

Blue = Elite Player

Green = Really Good Player

Orange = Average Player

Pink = Meh

Red = NO THANKS

Gray = Rookie

Offense:

QB: Derek Carr

RB: Latavius Murray

FB: Marcell Reece

WR: Amari Cooper

WR: Michael Crabtree

TE: Clive Walford

OC: Rodney Hudson

OG: Gabe Jackson

OG: Kelechi Osemele

OT: Austin Howard

OT: Donald Penn

Defense:

DE: Khalil Mack

DT: Jihad Ward

DT: Dan Williams

DE: Denico Autry

LB: Ben Heeney

LB: Bruce Irvin

LB: Malcolm Smith

CB: David Amerson

CB: Sean Smith

SS: Karl Joseph

FS: Reggie Nelson

The Schedule:

vs. @ New Orleans Saints (September 11)

vs. Atlanta Falcons (September 18)

vs. @ Tennessee Titans (September 25)

vs. @ Baltimore Ravens (October 2)

vs. San Diego Chargers (October 9)

vs. Kansas City Chiefs (October 16)

vs. @ Jacksonville Jaguars (October 23)

vs. @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (October 30)

vs. Denver Broncos (November 6)

BYE WEEK

vs. Houston Texans (November 21)

vs. Carolina Panthers (November 27)

vs. Buffalo Bills (December 4)

vs. @ Kansas City Chiefs (December 8)

vs. @ San Diego Chargers (December 18)

vs. Indianapolis Colts (December 24)

vs. @ Denver Broncos (January 1)

The Prediction:

10-6

Brief Synopsis:

You think your favorite NFL team has had it rough? Try being a fan of the Oakland Raiders. Ever since the Raiders made the Super Bowl back in 2002, they have been garbage. They haven’t had a season where they’ve finished better than 8-8 during that span and they haven’t even MADE the playoffs in that time. That’s just ridiculous. However, it’s a new era in Oakland and the times they are a changing. General Manager Reggie McKenzie has done a great job of accumulating talent on both sides of the ball for the Raiders and don’t look now….but they actually look like a GOOD football team for the first time in almost 20 years. The question is, how good can the Raiders be and will all these new pieces fit together and make magic happen in Oakland? Let’s take a closer look.

On offense, things will be interesting for the Raiders this year. Derek Carr has quietly become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. While the guy is far from a “world beater”, he’s surprised people with his development. No one really expected him to come out and turn into a franchise player as quickly as he has, but he’s done it and if he continues to improve, that will greatly increase Oakland’s chances of making a playoff push this year. Luckily for Carr, the Raiders offense has ZERO HOLES on paper, which is extremely impressive. Their skill position players are all either good or really good and the offensive line might just be the best in the league. It’s incredible what McKenzie has done to build up the Raiders offensive line. He’s gone out and signed some key free agents (Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele) and drafted some fantastic players as well and now the Raiders arguably have the best offensive line in the NFL. These guys are going to put up points this year. The question is, can they become the best offense in the NFL? It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Defensively, there are still some concerns for the Raiders, but not a ton. The front seven is fantastic. With Khalil Mack (perhaps the best pass-rusher in the NFL), Dan Williams, Bruce Irvin, and more, the Raiders shouldn’t have a difficult time pressuring the quarterback. Most of the Raiders concerns on defense will likely come in the secondary. They were awful last year and made some improvements this off-season by drafting Karl Joseph and signing Sean Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs. The only problem is, Joseph is coming off a knee injury and no one knows how he’s going to play. And Smith has been disappointing so far since arriving in Oakland and he also has a history of suspensions/injuries that have kept him off-the-field. The team did sign Reggie Nelson this off-season though and even though he’s up their in the age department, he’s still one of the best safeties in the NFL and is an absolute ball hog. I honestly don’t know what to expect from the Raiders on the defensive side of the ball, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them fall somewhere in the middle of the pack when it’s all said and done.

So, what should we expect from Oakland this season? Personally, I think they are a playoff team. The time has come Raiders fans. You guys have a good QB. A decent head coach. What looks like the best offensive line in the NFL. A stout defense with some key pieces added to it. If you guys come out and shit the bed once again and miss the playoffs, there’s something bigger going on here. At that point, I would start to consider that maybe there’s a jink applied to this team in some form. There’s just too much talent on this team this season for the Raiders to be this bad for this long.

One thought on “2016 NFL Preview: Oakland Raiders

  1. Pingback: Full NFL Coverage – The Ultimate Sports Blog

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