Oakland Raiders: Five Bold-ish Predictions For The 2018 Season

Oakland Raiders (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders /

Raiders Will Field A Top-15 Defense

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Given the fact that the team dealt away its best defensive player, it’s pretty bold to predict they’ll be anywhere but thirty-second in total defense in the league – or is it?

And yes, being middle of the pack in the league isn’t necessarily something to beat your chest and shout from the rooftops about, but given where this defense has been the last few seasons, being middle of the pack would be a massive win, and a giant step forward.

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  • DC Paul Guenther has a track record of success in putting solid defenses on the field. As DC for the Cincinnati Bengals (2014-17), Guenther was responsible for deploying some tough defenses despite not having an overabundance of talent to work with.

    Guenther’s strength was in the passing game, in which his defenses were among the toughest to score against in the air. His pass defenses also ranked inside the top-five in interceptions in his first three years.

    The Raiders, arguably, have more collective talent than Guenther’s Cincinnati defenses did. And although they lost their best player, Guenther’s schemes take advantage of his player’s strengths, mitigates their weaknesses, and puts them all in a position to have some success.

    This is a defense that, without Mack, still racked up 12 sacks through the four preseason games. People might poo-poo that stat because it was the preseason, but it shows that Guenther’s system puts his players in positions to make plays.

    Need proof? Fadol Brown and Shilique Calhoun were standout pass rushers. Shilique Calhoun. The guy who got cut last year, and has had next to zero impact since he was drafted.

    The defense is more than just one man – despite how good that man is. It takes all 11 players working in sync with one another. Guenther’s system allows them to do just that far better than Norton’s ever did.

    Ranking in the top-fifteen in total defense may not be anything for most to write home about, but it would be an astronomical leap forward for this franchise.