[2017 NFL Preview] Oakland Raiders

Yes, here at THE USB we don’t discriminate against anyone. That includes the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.

For years, the Raiders were a dumpster fire in the NFL. BUT THEY ARE BACK FOLKS!

After a 12-4 run last season, the Raiders are ready to go and they are fully healthy. They are a popular pick to win the Super Bowl amongst NFL fans according to Vegas (usually not a good sign because the fans don’t know what they’re doing), but how do I feel about THA RAIDERSSSSS this year?

LETTTTTTTTTTT’SSSSS GETTTTTTTTTTTT READDDYYYYYYYYYYYY TOOOOOOOOOOOO FUMMMMMMBLLLEEEEEE!!!!!

 

 

 

 

2017 NFL Preview

 

 

 

 

Record Last Five Seasons: 4-12 (2012), 4-12 (2013), 3-13 (2014), 7-9 (2015), 12-4 (2016)

Last Playoff Win: 2002 AFC Championship vs. Tennessee

Last Playoff Appearance: 2016 Wild Card vs. Houston

Super Bowl Wins: Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XV, Super Bowl XVIII

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

 

The Head Coach:

Jack Del Rio

Coaching Record: 87-84

Playoff Record: 1-3

Grade: C+

 

2016-17 Team Leaders:

Passing Yards/Touchdowns: Derek Carr (3,937), Derek Carr (28)

Rushing Yards/Touchdowns: Latavius Murray (788), Latavius Murray (12)

Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: Amari Cooper (1,153), Michael Crabtree (8)

Tackles: Malcolm Smith (103)

Interceptions: Reggie Nelson (5)

 

2017 Projected Starters:

Grade Key:

  • ELITE
  • GREAT
  • GOOD
  • NOT GOOD
  • ROOKIE
  • HORRIBLE

Offense:

QB: Derek Carr

RB: Marshawn Lynch

FB: Jamize Olawale

WR: Amari Cooper

WR: Michael Crabtree

TE: Jared Cook

LT: Donald Penn

RT: Marshall Newhouse

RG: Gabe Jackson

LG: Kelechi Osemele

OC: Rodney Hudson

Defense:

DE: Mario Edwards

DE: Jihad Ward

DT: Justin Ellis

DT: Eddie Vanderdoes

LB: Jelani Jenkins

LB: Khalil Mack

LB: Bruce Irvin

CB: David Amerson

CB: Sean Smith

FS: Reggie Nelson

SS: Karl Joseph

 

The Schedule:

vs. @ Tennessee Titans (September 10)

vs. New York Jets (September 17)

vs. @ Washington Redskins (September 24)

vs. @ Denver Broncos (October 1)

vs. Baltimore Ravens (October 8)

vs. Los Angeles Chargers (October 15)

vs. Kansas City Chiefs (October 19)

vs. @ Buffalo Bills (October 29)

vs. @ Miami Dolphins (November 5)

BYE WEEK

vs. New England Patriots (November 19)

vs. Denver Broncos (November 26)

vs. New York Giants (December 3)

vs. @ Kansas City Chiefs (December 10)

vs. Dallas Cowboys (December 17)

vs. @ Philadelphia Eagles (December 25)

vs. @ Los Angeles Chargers (December 31)

 

Three Things I Like About The Raiders This Season:

-The Offense: I don’t think you’re really going out on a limb when you say the Oakland Raiders have one of the best offenses in the NFL. Derek Carr is a good NFL QB, who I don’t think is anywhere near elite…but that’s a story for a different day. He’s good enough to get the job done. He also has some amazing wide receivers to throw the ball to. I would welcome Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree on my team any day of the week. The offensive line is one of the best in the league and if Marshawn Lynch can somehow play like he did with the Seahawks….good luck stopping these guys this season folks. Oakland should have no trouble putting up points this season.

-Offensive Line: I mentioned above how Oakland’s offense is one of the best in the league, but that’s largely due to how well their offensive line unit plays together. The Raiders have two elite players on the line in Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele. Two guys that they brought in from free agency on big time contracts and they’ve been effective so far. The Raiders also have another good guard in Gabe Jackson. Perhaps Oakland’s biggest weakness on offense is the offensive tackle position. As long as Donald Penn is playing, the Raiders should be fine. However, there is little to no depth at the position and that could potentially become a problem down the road. But hey….we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

-Khalil Mack: Every defense needs a “QB”. A guy who is the undeniable star of the defense. The guy who the defense lives and dies by. If he goes out, it’s an irreplaceable loss and the defense could be doomed for the year. The Raiders “Defensive QB” is no doubt Khalil Mack. Since coming into the NFL, this dude has been one of the best defensive players and it seems like he just gets better every year. I’m not a huge fan of what the Raiders are bringing to the table defensively, but Khalil Mack helps make up for the lack of players elsewhere.

 

Three Things I Hate About The Raiders This Season:

-Jack Del Rio: Jack Del Rio is a good NFL coach. In my eyes though, the Raiders have a roster that could compete for a Super Bowl title this year, especially if they had an elite head coach. Del Rio just doesn’t blow the doors off for me. Eleven seasons in the NFL as a head coach for the guy so far. Just three playoff appearances in that time with only one win. He’s basically Marvin Lewis with one playoff win, yet people think he’s capable of leading this Raiders team to a Super Bowl. Please. Del Rio is continuously out-coached when he goes up against better coaches (Andy Reid) and it will happen once again this year. At least you’ll have someone to blame Raiders fans.

-Defensive Line: Oakland’s GM Reggie McKenzie has done a hell of a job making this Oakland roster competitive in the NFL once again. What he’s managed to do with the Raiders offensive line is pretty incredible. However, there is still a ton of work to do on the other side of the ball, namely the defensive line. Oakland really needs one of their young guys to step up and become an elite player if the Raiders hope to take the next step and win their first playoff game since 2002. NFL games are won in the trenches people. Oakland has that figured out on one side of the ball.

-AFC West: The AFC West is tough man. There are four potential playoff teams in that division alone. The Broncos are just a few years removed from a Super Bowl title and still have an excellent defense. The Chiefs have been one of the NFL’s best teams since Andy Reid took over and are the defending division champions. And then you have the Chargers. Yes, they have a hard time staying healthy, but as long as Philip Rivers is QB, they always have a chance. The Raiders haven’t won a division title since 2002. If they manage to get one this season, it’s not going to be easy.

 

The Prediction:

12-4

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