Since the beginning of football, it has been known that a team needs balance offensively and defensively to be a contender in the NFL. There has always been the saying that "defense wins games."
So how balanced are the Oakland Raiders in 2010?
Does Oakland have the necessary weapons to defeat the former AFC West champions, the San Diego Chargers? What games could the Raiders win this season? Can the Raiders regain the AFC West title after an eight-year slump?
Al Davis and Tom Cable have been working to build the Raiders so that they can return to greatness. In fact, when it comes to a team being balanced, the Oakland Raiders have surpassed the AFC West teams by drafting elite players such as Johnnie Lee Higgins, Robert Gallery (the so-called bust at one time), Zach Miller, Darren McFadden, Chaz Schilens, Michael Bush, Louis Murphy, Trevor Scott, and many more.
In fact, this team would have been balanced had JaMarcus Russell been the performer that many thought he would be. But that's the past, and now the Oakland Raiders have two QBs to complement the offense and the defense. There is balance in Oakland.
Offensively, the rookies such as Miller and Murphy have become solid players. It takes at least two years to get adjusted in the NFL, and these players have surpassed the mark and are more than likely Pro Bowl-bound this season. Many feel Higgins has lost a step, but I feel that this is untrue, and he should thrive with the new spirit that has taken over the Silver and Black.
Defensively, there was the drafting of Trevor Scott, Tyvon Branch, Thomas Howard, and Nnamdi Asomugha, the free-agent signings of Kamerion Wimbley and John Henderson, and the trade for Richard Seymour. The defensive line is made up of huge players that should contain the run.
It's been a few years of being in the dumps, but in the meantime, the Raiders' draft picks have been excellent choices. I still would have hoped that Asomugha would have played opposite Charles Woodson. Can you imagine?
If you notice all the names mentioned, you will see that there is a huge amount of talent here. This is a well-developed and balanced team. They will always be the underdogs to the media and fans of other teams, but this is the 2010 Raiders and they look a lot sharper and focused. In fact, they are contenders.
So how will the Oakland Raiders defeat the San Diego Chargers? It will more than likely be by the hard running of Michael Bush. Bush should have a field day with the Chargers. The Oakland Raiders were very close to defeating the Chargers at the game's start.
This was a great game for Oakland—a wind in the right direction. Bush should have no problem wearing down the Charger D-line, and this will leave Darrius Heyward-Bey available for the TD.
Predictions for Oakland Raiders wins are as follows: Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, KC Chiefs, and finally, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers should fall under the trampling feet of Michael Bush and receptions made by a speedy Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy.
As the Oakland Raider receivers and the quarterback develop a relationship during the season, the Raiders will win more and more games. The wins will bring camaraderie, and the Silver and Black will take the AFC West title.
I realize that there are many skeptics out there, but I have seen underdog football teams make it to the top, such as the Saints and the Rams under Kurt Warner. So who can really say the Raiders can't take the AFC West?
The Oakland Raiders have a pretty easy schedule. When you think about it, the position that really hurt the team under Cable was the QB issue. And that, my friends and Raider Nation, is the primary spot. It has been repaired, and the Raiders, along with a solid D-line, should do well in 2010.
Is the AFC West title within grasp of the underrated Oakland Raiders?
Yes it is.
If you don't see it now, then by season's end your eyes will be opened, your mouth will drop, and you will see why the faithful Oakland Raider fans know that Al Davis always believed—and so have I.