Coming off a disappointing 4-12 season, head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie were aware of the fact that the Oakland Raiders need to be rebuilt. Several acquisitions were made this offseason before the draft targeting the struggling defense for the past few years. Oakland decided to release quarterback Carson Palmer not too long ago as well and brought in Matt Flynn to take his position.
With virtually a whole new defense, a young, promising quarterback, the Oakland Raiders look to have a solid season next year. On top of all these spectacular acquisitions, the Raiders have the third overall pick in the draft. Whether Oakland will decide to trade down and receive two picks or take the third overall is a question that remains up in the air, but McKenzie knows he’s in good hands.
The Raiders have a fairly tough schedule next season, certainly no room for awful play. The AFC West has started to become a good division with teams like Denver, San Diego, Kansas City with the acquisition of Alex Smith, and then the Oakland Raiders. As always, Oakland will have to face each of those teams in their division twice, which will be a divisional battle. Denver is arguably one of the best teams in the league, San Diego can get it going as they have a solid quarterback, and Kansas City might come out with some fire power next season with all the new acquisitions they’ve made.
The teams Oakland will face outside of their division are the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, and the Houston Texans.
Now that my friends is incredibly difficult. Three of those teams were in the postseason last year, but do not let that fool you. Philadelphia had an awful season, however they still have Michael Vick and a bunch of other explosive players who can run you off the field. The Dallas Cowboys recently signed quarterback Tony Romo to a huge extension, and they have a handful of players who can make outstanding plays. Lastly, the Pittsburgh Steelers are typically a playoff team every year. Last year was the first season they did not make the playoffs in a while. They are one of the classiest and toughest organizations under a phenomenal head coach Mike Tomlin.
I believe the Raiders can win at least seven games next season, potentially around eight or nine. If Oakland does not show signs of improvement expect head coach Dennis Allen to get the boot early. Oakland needs to show signs of significant improvement from the get go and continue solid play throughout the season. With all the new players McKenzie has brought in plus the draftees coming soon, I can’t see Oakland losing more than nine games.