Yes, the Raiders may be back in the realm of contention in the AFC West. For 2nd place, that is. The Oakland squad has made significant acquisitions in the off season, including Deangelo Hall, Javon Walker, Darren Mcfadden, and Kwame Harris. OK, i'm kidding about Kwame, I'm befuddled by this too. But apparently the only reason they got him in the first place was for his run blocking, because this is a run oriented team now, kind of like the Chargers. This is a relatively young team that, if given the right circumstance, could wow some people and maybe make a run at a wild card position for the playoffs. Let's run down the schedule to see:
Week 1: vs. Denver. This one can really go any way. I'm going to say that simply because this game is at home, they can beat Denver. The defense will have to contain Jay Cutler, who has evolved into a hell of a qb, but the Raiders finally have the DB's to counter good quarterbacks, putting them in any game now. This has to be a Raider win, because the nation will be out (the only nation) and they will know that this year could be big, so this is the time to begin climbing back up the ladder. Raiders: 24 Broncos 17
Week 2: @ KC. This has to be a win. no doubt in my mind. If i remember correctly, their first win against a division opponent was against the Chiefs. The chiefs dont' have a QB, barely any Wideouts, and a running game that will be used so much, the Defense will know every running play by the end of the game. Raiders: 28 Chiefs: 10
Week 3: @ Buffalo. I personally love Trent Edwards, because i loved him at Stanford, which is right down the road. But sorry bud, the Raiders will defeat you in Buffalo before the snow starts falling. Marshawn may be the only offense the Bills get all day, and the Defense is ok, but the wideouts might have a chance to really prove what they can do. Oh, and Run DMC might go off too. Raiders: 35 Bills: 14
Week 4: vs. SD As much as I'd love to say that the Raiders would win this game, it won't happen. yet. LT will show he is the best running back in the league and Philip Rivers will try to keep up with him. Shawne Merriman will sack the **** out of Jamarcus, and remind him how the ground feels. This one will get ugly, especially in the raider nation. Raiders: 13 Chargers: 35
Week 5: Bye. So basically a win. But seriously, a 3-1 record going into the bye? that's very good. Especially for a team with a chance in the AFC to make the playoffs in the 6th spot.
Week 6: @ New Orleans. This really depends on how Reggie Bush looks. As it stands right now, and I like Reggie too because of his SC days, but I have to believe that he won't change going into this year. Jeremy Shockey will be able to go wild on the LB's, but other than that D. Colston will be covered by great DB's, and it'll be an Atlanta Falcon situation. An offense around a Pro-Bowl Tight End with 1 good receiver who might get open against a great Defensive Backfield. Still, the thing on Drew Brees's face gets the arrow of victory- barely. Saints: 27 Raiders 17
Week 7:vs. Jets. Sorry Chad/Brett, this one is going to be ugly. You come into the black hole, and you're not getting out. Prepare for a gridiron slaughter kids, because this one is going to get very messy. Don't forget an apron. Raiders: 31 Jets: 13
Week 8:@ Baltimore. The Ravens don't have an established QB, they're basically putting in a combination of Flacco, Bowler, and Troy Smith in there. The Defense is good, but the Raiders will also have an advantage over the Raven offense, too. In the end, the Raiders have more of an established backfield and better wideouts. They will win this game. Raiders: 21 Ravens: 13
Week 9:vs. Atlanta. I like the Falcons. They're my second favorite team. Having said that, they will be terrible for at least 2 more years. The resurgence of the falcons is in place, however, with new QB Matt Ryan. Still, there's not much else on that team. At least DeAngelo can say hi to his ex-teammates. Raiders: 42 Falcons: 17
Week 10: vs. Carolina. This one is a toss up, but because Carolina is debating on who the QB is, I see the Raiders win this game. Steve Smith is a very formidable wideout, but that defensive backfield will have at least 2 pro-bowlers. it should at least. anyways, as long as Oakland can matriculate the ball down the field via the air effectively, they should be fine. Raiders: 20 Panthers: 9
Week 12: @ Denver. OK, fine Denver, we'll give you this one. It'll be cold in mile high and this will be a game of the week for sure. Still, Denver gets the edge this time, after the raiders edged them out on the 4 letter during week 1. Raiders: 13 Broncos: 21
Week 13: vs. KC. The raiders will sweep the season series with the Chiefs, especially b/c KC will probably have thrown in the towel by then. sorry KC, but you have no QB, or any receivers. Especially in the Black Hole. Raiders: 31 KC: 10
Week 14: @ SD. Like i said, the raiders would get one game from the Chargers. In 09. The Chargers will win this game, but they'll have to battle a little bit and wet their jock straps before it's over. but they'll win. Raiders: 21 Chargers: 31
Week 15: vs. NE. I am restraining myself from writing that the raiders will stomp all over these !%*^$@&*^. sorry. New England wins this game. 35-14. can we move on?
Week 16: vs. Hou. I'm going to venture a guess and say this one is a toss up. Houston is much better with Matt Schaub, and has an Ok defense. Yet, i still don't see them having the receivers or running game necessary to beat the Raiders. and it's the season finale in Oakland. No way do they lose. Raiders: 17 Houston: 10
Week 17: @ TB. This one will be a rematch of the 2002 Superbowl. Ah those good old days....Tampa Bay has a QB who's very good in Jeff Garcia, and a good defense too. I can't say I know much about their wideouts or running backs, so i'll just say that the Raiders have a chance. But in the end, Tampa wins this. Raiders: 20 TB: 34
This brings the Raiders to a record of 10-6. Quite the turnaround from 4-12. Whether or not this is good enough to make it to the playoffs is uncertain. You have to look at the AFC South, and see that there's Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Indy in there. And you have to also consider the Tennessee Titans somewhat, along with the Cleveland Browns. They will be in the 5 team mix, and they'll probably edge out the Titans, and the Browns. Yet, they might be the 7th team looking in, as Pittsburgh and Jacksonville will have be in the mix once again. The Raiders will be good, but the only way that they can make the playoffs is if either the Steelers or Jags fall, or if both beat each other up enough that one of them gets an 8-8, 9-7 record.