2011 Record: 8-8
Key Additions: Mike Brisiel, Shawntae Spencer, Ron Bartell, Matt Leinart
Key Losses: Michael Bush, Kamerion Wimbley, Samson Satele, Rock Cartwright
Oh, that AFC West, so hard to handicap. Neither of the four teams is a bottom-feeder, neither (seemingly) a Super Bowl threat.
But as tight as that division should be, the Raiders seem to be the one with the least promising 2012. And not just because they are the only one employing a brand-new, first-time head coach.
Carson Palmer struggled mightily down the stretch, Darren McFadden has been unable to stay healthy, and they lost any established backup running game plan when Michael Bush left town for Chicago. And even if he wasn't a Pro Bowler, Samson Satele, who signed with the Colts, was a five-year starter on an offense that relied heavily on the run.
The addition of Mike Brisiel and the collection of extremely fast, young wide receivers does suggest the Raiders have the ability to put up points. Protecting any lead they may gain, however, will be the greatest question mark.
Kamerion Wimbley and Stanford Routt were quality starters who they cut, leaving even greater holes on a defense that was equally porous against both the run (27th in the NFL) and the pass (27th). Dennis Allen may try to install the same kind of scheme that was so successful last season in Denver, but other than Richard Seymour, he does not have the front four personnel or a Champ Bailey in the secondary.