In the history of this historic franchise, the Oakland Raiders never had more than two consecutive seasons of losing 10 or more games, in fact from 1960 to 2002 the Raiders had only had a total of four seasons (this right, FOUR).
In 1961 (2-12) and 1962 (1-13) were the only two consecutive years, then again in 1987 they went 5-10 and finally in 1997 the Raiders went 4-12 and ended up with the No.4 pick and took Charles Woodson. Since then the Raiders went (8-8),(8-8),(7-9) and then Rich Gannon and Jon Gruden got going and the Raiders went (12-4),(10-6), and (11-5).
Since then the Raiders have gone 4-12 (2003), 5-11(2004), 4-12(2005), 2-14 (2006), 4-12 (2007), and 5-11 (2008).
In 2003, the Raiders who were coming off a Super Bowl season, started with a 2-5 record. Much like this year, their two victories were close nail biters against the Bengals and Chargers, both by a field goal. After the break, they went 2-7 with an impressive victory against the Ravens. Their record was 4-12 and with the second overall draft pick, they drafted Robert Gallery.
In 2004, the Raiders lost Gannon, Garner, Tim Brown, Rod Woodson, and they finally got rid of Callahan. Al went shopping. He tried luring away Sean Payton from the Cowboys (but he knew better than to commit) so he found Norv Turner. They went on to post a 3-6 record by the bye week, with impressive wins against the Tampa Bay Bucs and against the Denver Broncos, after losing to them 31-0 earlier that year.
Like this year's Raiders team, the 2004 Raiders had six losses by less than seven points and three losses by over 20 points This is because they were a team that were capable of focusing and putting together strong games, but also suffered from a tendency to check out of other games.
In 2005, Turner came back for a go-around, the idea was that giving a coach and players time to develop a system could reap results. Collins was again the starter, with the addition of Lamont Jordan, Randy Moss, and the defensive retooling of Warren Sapp, Ted Washington, Derrick Burgess, Tommy Kelly, and Nnamdi Asomugha. It seemed like the Raiders were making the right choices.
However, the Raiders lost the opening game against the Patriots and then two heartbreakers to the Chiefs 23-17, and to the Eagles on a last second field goal, 23-20. They went into the bye week at 1-3, after the bye they had an impressive win at Buffalo 38-17 and against the Titans, posting their first back to back wins in three years.
However, they fell apart losing eight out of nine, including six of them by more than 10 points. They earned the seventh pick in the 2006 draft, taking Michael Huff over Cromartie or Cutler. The 2005 edition showed similiarities to 2004, a team with sparks of potential, but little results.
In 2006 after a complete retooling, with Turner gone and Kerry Collins back in free agency, Al Davis hired Art Shell and gave the QB job to Andrew Walter. The personnel was largely unchanged in the starting lineups on defense. The results? The Raiders went 0-5 to start the season, lost 14 games overall (a new record), including failing to score more than three points in five different games.
This was the worst of the worst and for the Raider's pain and suffering they acquired the first overall pick in the 2007 draft; JaMarcus Russell.
In 2007, after an embarrassing performance by the Raiders, the total meltdown of Art Shell as a head coach began and Davis had to go back to square one. He fired Shell and started the process of finding a new coach.
Davis had a hard time interviewing; various prominent coaches turned him down. It was USC coordinator Lane Kiffin, that was willing to take the reigns of the team. A 31-year old puppy that had no real coaching experience at the pro level.
The Raiders started 2-2, similiar to 2003 and 2004. They had a 35-17 stomping against the Dolphins and showed promising signs, but alkso showed their constant inconsistency by getting slammed by the Jaguars 49-11, or the Packers 38-7 reaching their Bye week at 2-2 with high hopes only to lose 10 out of their last 12. Reaching 4-12 again and taking razorback running back McFadden.
In 2008, Al Davis re-signed Tommy Kelly to ridiculous money. He also gave an obscene amount of money to Javon Walker and traded away an excellent second round pick for DeAngelo Hall only to release him mid-season.
The season was in turmoil when Al fired Kiffin four games into the season, after a 1-3 start. They lost three games by more than 20 points and put up impressive victories against the Broncos, Buccaneers, and Texans.
See a pattern? A team that puts up impressive games and shows that they have talent on the team, but a weak mental make up, which is apparent in the fact that without fail they'll have two or three games where they get blown out and have consistently lost at least 10 games per season.
So for this season, the outlook has been similar to previous years:
1. A quarterback that has no protection (heard it before)
2. We need to run more (heard it before)
3. We need to stop the run (been hearing it since 1991)
4. We need reliable receivers that can catch the ball
5. A coach that doesn't establish discipline
6. The lack of a competent offensive coordinator
I could go on, but it's the same story every year and every year the bloggers say the same thing: "We're just around the corner from turning this around." "We just need a play caller.", "If we get an o-line that can protect and wideouts that can catch, Jmac will perform." Blah, blah, blah.
So this season my prediction is that the games will go like this:
Raiders vs Chiefs - McFadden and Fargas run over the hapless Chiefs, Jmac manages to not throw an interception .
RAIDERS 16 - CHIEFS 13
Raiders vs Bengals
Carson Palmer and Ochocinco have a field day, putting up over 400 plus offensive yards. Coming off a devastating loss to the Steelers, they take and the Raiders complacency over a win against the Chiefs. This one is going to get ugly.
BENGALS 38 - RAIDERS 17
Raiders vs Cowboys
Coming to the new Dallas Stadium, Lechler's punts will hit the big screen at least three times that game, hitting Al on the head and knocking some sense into him. Romo will slice up the secondary by attacking Routt and Johnson. The Raiders could pull an upset if they can limit turnovers and get to Romo quickly and knock him off his game. I can see the Raiders putting up a valiant fight, but coming up short.
COWBOYS 24 - RAIDERS 14
After a tough loss against the Ravens, at 7-4, fighting for their playoff lives, the Steelers host the Raiders and completely dismantle them. The Raiders have a weak offense that struggles against mediocre defenses (Chargers and Chiefs), so when it meets a strong suffocating defense, it's lights out.
STEELERS 28 - RAIDERS 6
At 2-10, the Redskins will be beaten and demoralized, aiming for the top pick in the draft. They will phone this one in and this one should be one of dullest games this season, but the Raiders have more talent than the Redskins on defense.
RAIDERS 14 - REDSKINS 10
Raiders get a chance to redeem themselves. Going to Denver, the Raiders have taken humiliating losses only to come back and upset the Broncos for the last two seasons. This year the Raiders come in with a one-dimensional offense and this may yet prove to be too much. I wish the Raiders could pull this one off, but realistically this one isn't going to be close.
BRONCOS 31 - RAIDERS 10
At 3-11, the Browns might phone this one in. However, playing in the dog pound in December could prove to be too much for this Raider team. The teams are evenly matched both on defense and offense, so this game could come down to the wire. I'm giving the edge to the Browns only because of home field, but the Raiders have a definite chance of winning this one.
BROWNS 17 - RAIDERS 14
Baltimore will be fighting for a wild card and their suffocating defense will eat JMac (assuming he's still the starter) for lunch. This one isn't going to be pretty.
RAVENS 24 - RAIDERS 10
The Raiders will show that against talented teams they just bend over and take it. But against teams in their own talent rage, they can put up good fights. However, this will play out like it should play out, at 4-12 that's where the Raiders are given their current situation. Maybe 5-11 and that would be a good year for this team.
PREDICTION - RAIDERS 4-12, sixth Pick in the 2010 draft.