Realistically, the Oakland Raiders should have a 9-7 season. They should have a strong running attack with RB speed machines Fargas and McFadden. Michael Bush is a true power RB and should be used to wear down defensive lines.
The young wide receivers in the outfield (Darius Bey and Johnnie Higgins) will make a name for themselves. Higgins shined brightly at seasons end. Bey will definitely spread the field and should easily get 9 TDs this year.
Zach Miller is another future star as he has led in receptions an should be another weapon for Jamarcus Russell to utilize while defenses look for the whereabout of DarrenMcFadden who is an alll around player.
The defense has been the weakness for the Oakland Raiders. This should change dramatically with the new defensive coordinator who appears to creating a strong defense with more blitzing and QB pressure. I am looking forward to see Derrick Burgess, Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison have a great season. The new guy Trevor Scott looks extremely hungry and is another future star for the Raiders.
The Oakland Raiders defensively have been unable to stop the run. The Raiders will be facing former Raider RBs Lamont Jordan and LaDaniain Tomlinson. These are great RBs and once the run is stopped, offenses will be forced to throw to the secondary. The Oakland Raider secondary is actually one of the NFL’s best with Asomugha and Johnson at CB.
Robert Gallery is finally where he belongs on the offensive line and will stop getting burned on the outside. This had been a weakness and appears to be corrected. Mario Henderson has also done well. The addition of Khalif Barnes was a welcome addition as well. By creating time in the pocket for JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden, the Oakland Raiders are really going to be an exciting team to watch this year and the return of the vertical game that AL Davis loves will return.
The only obstacles I see holding back the Raiders are themselves. They have all the weapons and tools to become the AFC West leader. The only team I feel they need to watch for is the San Diego Chargers. If the Raiders can defeat the Chargers this year then I feel they have a shot at the playoffs.
As for the remaining teams Denver and Kansas City, they have new QB's and will not be the same. They shouldnt pose a threat at all to the Raiders as the Raider players are now used to each other and the Cableman returned. he left a winner at seasons end and this new blood had definitely shown that it can win games. They have a tough schedule but should weather through these teams. The game this writer is looking forward to is the Thanksgiving game vs. Dallas.