Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over The Cincinnati Bengals

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Sep 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans watch the game from the Black Hole during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at O.co Coliseum. Oakland won 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

For Oakland Raiders fans – and for NFL fans everywhere really – the Christmas season is upon us. Yes, after months of agonized waiting, fans everywhere can rejoice – football is finally back! It’s been an exciting offseason for the Raiders, and fans – not to mention the organization itself – are anticipating big things. But there is a lot of work yet to do. And that work begins on Sunday when Oakland kicks off the season with a home date against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Most NFL “experts” around the country are once again picking the Raiders to finish dead last in the AFC West. Even the oddsmakers in Vegas aren’t very optimistic about Oakland’s chances this year, giving the squad 100-1 odds – or worse – to make it to the big dance.

New Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio has assembled one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the league. And after a busy, productive, and what is being considered by many, one of the best offseasons in recent memory, some have high expectations of the Raiders this year. Some believe it’s within Oakland’s grasp to topple the Broncos from the division throne and claim it for themselves.

While many guffaw at such a suggestion – and after more than a decade of steady losing, it would be hard to fault them for it – it’s actually not outside the realm of possibility. One need only look at recent history to see examples of a team quickly rising from the depths – and the history of the NFL is replete with stories of teams quickly moving from worst to first.

One such recent example are the Kansas City Chiefs, a bitter division rival, who finished the 2012 season 2-14 under Romeo Crennel. 2013 brought in a new head coach, Andy Reid, who guided the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.

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So why couldn’t the Raiders – who themselves have a new head coach who has a track record of some success in the league, an offense flush with weapons, and a retooled defense that is absolutely loaded for bear – experience such a remarkable turnaround?

Though most “experts” scoff at the idea, they fail to realize that the NFL is ruled by parity, that any team can win on any given Sunday, and a team as hungry and motivated to win as the Raider – and a team who is so lightly regarded – can be a very dangerous animal indeed.

It’s been an offseason of sweeping changes for the Silver and Black – changes that many are hoping ushers in a new era of excellence. Oakland’s new era begins on Sunday against Cincinnati, and here are just a few keys to a victory in week one.

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