The Raiders have had their struggles in the last seven years, but are not far off from competing within the division. They split their season series with the Broncos and Chiefs, and came very close to beating the Chargers on opening night.
One of the reasons for the Raiders struggles in the last seven years is the lack of continuity from the head coaching position. Tom Cable has returned as the head coach, and this will give the locker room more continuity than they've had in a long time.
They too have added a new offensive coordinator in Hue Jackson, who should help improve the Raiders offense that was very weak in 2009.
The Raiders have a lot of young talent on offense, and have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball. If the offense can create more points and keep drives alive then the defense can be a top-10 defense.
The biggest question of the offseason for the Raiders is JaMarcus Russell. He is coming off a horrible year, and needs to have a strong offseason to keep his starting job and possibly save his career.
The Raiders need more production from their last three first round draft picks, Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darius Heyward-Bey. Luckily for the Raiders they have later round picks in Michael Bush, Zach Miller, Louis Murphy, and Chaz Schilens who can step up and be major players.
The Raiders have the eighth overall pick in this year's draft.
Perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses the Raiders have had in the last seven years is the offensive line. They have not had one pro bowl player from the offensive line since Lincoln Kennedy in 2002. This is why they have gone through so many starting quarterbacks since 2002. With no protection, no quarterback can be successful and no proven quarterback would want to come to Oakland.
They've ignored this position for a very long time, and have only drafted one since they drafted their quarterback of the future in 2007. As a matter of fact, they've ignored it so much, that it might be the only position that makes sense to draft with the eighth overall choice.
If the Raiders can solidify their offensive line, their strength will be their running game. Bush and McFadden should benefit from being the two primary backs. The Raiders don't need a quarterback to win them games with his arm, they just need one that can manage the offense and reduce turnovers.
The Raiders are an offensive line away from competing for the title. If they can fix this issue the Raiders should finish first or second in the division.
Record Prediction: 8-8