The Raiders have had three straight losing seasons and will their new home in Sin City change that? Derek Carr has a lot of pressure on him to show he can lead the Raiders, who forked out a lot of cash for Marcus Mariota to be a backup.
Odds to win AFC West: +1100
Odds to win AFC: +3000
Odds to win Super Bowl: +6600
Key Additions: Most of the moves the Raiders made in the off-season were to bolster the offense.
Besides picking up Mariota, veteran TE Jason Witten, and WR Nelson Agholor they used the 12th pick in the draft to take speedster WR Henry Ruggs and used their third-round pick to take WR Bryan Edwards.
On defense, the team drafted LB Lynn Bowden in the third round and signed LB Cory Littleton, who has totaled 259 tackles in the last two seasons.
Key Losses: The team lost RB Tahir Whitehead and RB DeAndre Washington.
Carr did pass for over 4,000 yards last season and only had eight INT, but for the third straight season failed to pass for over 23 TD.
On top of that he did not go for the big pass much only ranking 34th of 37 qualifying quarterbacks only averaging 6.9 yards per pass competition. He has Mariota looking over his shoulder but Carr does have the weapons.
The team used the draft to bolster their WR corps and Ruggs is a speedy WR that can get it done in the red zone. The team also picked up veteran WR Nelson Agholor and TE Darren Walker had the second-most receiving yards (1,145) for tight ends last season.
Rookie Josh Jacobs had a great rookie campaign last season rushing for 1,150 yards and seven TD despite missing the last three games.
Offensive Line Healthy
The offensive line was beset by injuries last season with Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson, and Richie Incognito missing a combined 14 games and Kolton Miller struggled. However, the line is healthy and big things are expected in the trenches this season.
Last season the Raiders’ defense ranked 19th overall and 24th in points allowed. However, there is optimism on that side of the ball for this upcoming season.
LB Cory Littleton was a great addition and last season’s first-round draft pick in S Johnathan Abram, who missed all but one game last season due to injury.
The team needs their secondary to force more turnovers, as the Raiders only ranked 29th last season in INT.
Raiders Face Early Test vs. Playoff Teams
The Raiders have a tough go of it early in the season after their season opener against the Panthers.
In their next four games, they play teams that made the playoffs last season, including the Saints and Chiefs, and then in their next game face the Bucs and some old QB named Tom Brady.
Prediction: The Raiders have talent on both sides of the ball but is Carr the guy and can head coach Jon Gruden guide the team to the playoffs?
I would say no, but it will be close. I think Carr will have a good season in the first one for the team in Las Vegas and while the team will be solid it will not be enough to make the playoffs in the tough AFC.