Darren McFadden: 2011 Predictions and NFL MVP Campaign
Many around the NFL landscape call Darren McFadden's 2010 a breakout season. It was nice for Raider fans to see their 2008 first round pick finally shake off the injury bug and do something but I call it a break through.
This is a man with an unstoppable blend of talents that hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can truly do. I say that 2011 will be his real breakout season and a big case will be made for him to win NFL MVP.
He has size, speed, power, moves, hands and picks up the blitz well to protect the quarterback. In 2010, he wasn't just healthy but he was able to do more because offensive coordinator turned head coach Hue Jackson knew how to use him.
Jackson will know how to use his most prized weapon even better in 2011 but that's not all of it. McFadden will have an improved, power blocking offensive line to pave the way for him.
To add to that, I'm predicting that McFadden will play in all 16 games in 2011.
Turn the page to see how McFadden's 2011 will shake out game by game.
Week 1: At the Denver Broncos
It's opening night for the Oakland Raiders as they go to Invesco Field at Mile High to face the Denver Broncos. McFadden is feeling real good as he is fresh coming out of the gate for the 2011 season.
Von Miller is a fine football player out of Texas A&M but he is and rusher off the edge. Put that together the fact that the Raiders will be much stronger on the offensive line and we have fireworks.
McFadden's numbers on the day will be 23 carries for 206 yards and two touchdowns (from 72 and 30 yards out). To go with it, he'll have 4 catches for 30 yards without a touchdown receiving.
The Raiders win the ballgame 35-21.
Week 2: At the Buffalo Bills
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Six days later, the Raiders will be in Buffalo, New York at Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the Bills. McFadden got a chance to show his flash in Week 1 but will have to grind it out against the Bills.
This will be Bills' number one pick Marcell Dareus' second game of his NFL career so it won't be as easy. McFadden will carry the ball 27 times for 105 yards with a touchdown.
The Raiders will barely make it out of Buffalo with a win by the count of 20-17.
Week 3: Vs the New York Jets
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The Oakland Raiders will be at home for Week 3 with the Rex Ryan and the New York Jets visiting. The Jet's are going to get a chance to see just how good of a football player McFadden is as he will burn them twice.
But he's not going to burn them in the run game.
The Raider run game will sputter on this day as McFadden will have 20 carries for just 60 yards and no touchdowns. It will be the passing game that he does his damage with as he get 7 catches for 100 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
One will be on a screen pass where that Rex Ryan blitz get caught with it's pants down from 37 yards out. The other will be on a check down on which quarterback Jason Campbell is feeling the heat of that Ryan blitz.
There will be man coverage behind the blitz and that will allow McFadden to take a short pass to the house from 45 yards out.
However, the Raiders will lose a heart breaker game to the Jets 21-17
Week 4: Vs the New England Patriots
Richard Seymour is now the beloved leader of this team as he has financed the camp that the Raiders are having as I write this. For that reason, the Raiders are going to bounce back from the Week 3 loss to get up for the Seymour's former team.
They are going to want to beat the Patriots so bad for Seymour that they will play above their heads. McFadden will be no different as he gets 110 yards on 25 carries for a touchdown.
He will also have 4 catches, for 60 yards, and a touchdown.
The Raiders will pull this one out 28-24.
Week 5: At the Houston Texans
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
McFadden appeared to be on his way to a long run when he pulled his hamstring against the Texans in 2010. In 2011, he will complete that long run as he has a 35 yard touchdown run in Week 5 against those Texans.
McFadden's game totals will be 17 carries, for 115 yards, and a touchdown. He will also have 3 catches on the day for only 15 yards without a touchdown receiving.
I see the Raider run defense being different in 2011 to go with a better passing game and offensive line.
Therefore, the Raiders go get one in Houston with a 31-28 score.
Week 6: Vs the Cleveland Browns
The Raiders will be at home to play the Cleveland Brown for Week 6.
Phil Taylor will be joining Shaun Rogers on the defensive line for the Browns in 2011. They were ranked No. 27 in 2010 against the run so that has to be a good move.
However, that won't be enough to stop McFadden and the Raiders from having a big day. McFadden will have 21 carries, for 105 yards, and a touchdown.
He will also hit the Browns for 82 yards on 7 catches and 47-yard touchdown on a screen pass. The Raiders will again take care of business at home, wining the game 27-17.
This pushes the Raiders' record to 5-1.
Week 7: Vs the Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are in town!
Week 7 is circled on both of these franchises schedule this year!
McFadden is going to take complete control of this game and leave his counterpart Jamaal Charles on the bench watching. McFadden will have 33 totes in this game for 180 yards and a 66-yard touchdown run.
He will add another 3 catches for 35 yards without a receiving touchdown to his stat line.
I will be another dramatic, close game that the Raiders win 24-21.
Week 9: Vs the Denver Broncos
In Week 9, the Raiders will come off the bye to complete their second straight season sweep of the Denver Broncos. The final count of this game will be the Raiders 24, the Broncos 13.
The Raiders will have another big game on the ground but McFadden won't do the majority of the damage this time. McFadden will have 82 yards on just 16 carries as stable mate Michael Bush has a huge game.
McFadden will catch 7 balls for 52 yards on the day as well.
Week 10: At the San Diego Chargers
It's Thursday night madness for the Oakland Raiders in Week 10 in San Diego. It will surely be madness for McFadden as he gets his to the tune of 22 carries, for 117 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
He will also catch 5 balls for 40 yards without a receiving touchdown.
But the Raiders will lose a heart breaker in San Diego 28-24 on a last minute touchdown pass from Phillip Rivers to Malcolm Floyd.
The Raiders are now 7-2.
Week 11: At the Minnesota Vikings
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
He will carry the ball 15 times for just 37 yards and be held scoreless. But the Vikings' not so great secondary will get touched up in this one as the safeties will bite on play fakes and get beat over the top.
McFadden will be do some of the touching up as he catches one on a deep route. His totals receiving will come to 62 yards on 5 catches and a touchdown.
The Raiders will also rattle rookie Viking quarterback Christian Ponder.
The result is a 24-10 victory for the Raiders.
Week 12: Vs the Chicago Bears
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
In come the Chicago bears for Week 12.
McFadden is going to have a difficult time getting off on the ground against Brian Urlacher's Bears. He will have 17 carries, for 45 yards, and no touchdowns.
He'll have 4 catches for 20 yards to go with it.
The Bears will win a tough one in Oakland by the score of 13-10.
Week 13: At the Miami Dolphins
With rookie Stephen Wisniewski at center, the Raiders match up much better to run the ball against the Miami Dolphins. They will run the ball much better than they did in 2010 against this team but it will just be okay.
Darren McFadden will have 79 yards on the ground on 18 carries without a touchdown. He will also have 5 catches for 35 yards without a receiving touchdown.
The Raider will then lose to the Dolphins for the second straight year by the count of 17-14.
Week 14: At the Green Bay Packers
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Week 14 will be a week the the Raiders catch the Packers napping.
McFadden will get lose for 140 yards on 18 caries and a 52-yard touchdown run early in the game. He will also catch the Packers in a blitz with man coverage behind it and take a short pass to the house from 32 yards out.
However, the Packers will wake up from that nap at half time to come back and win the game 30-28.
Week 15: Vs the Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are now in Oakland in Week 14 to play the Raiders.
The running game is going to struggle in this one as Nick Fairley has joined Nndamakong Sue. Sue and Fairley will raise H - E double hockey sticks for opposing offensive lines so the Raiders will have to find another way.
The good news for the Raiders is the back end of the Detroit Lions defense is suspect. McFadden will have only 53 yards on 17 carries and no touchdowns but will do damage to the back end of the Lion defense.
He will have 60 yards receiving on 6 catches with a 40 yard touchdown receiving on a short pass.
The Raiders will win the game by the score of 28-17.
Week 16: At the Kansas City Chiefs
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Here we go again!
It's the Raiders vs the Chiefs in Week 16.
This will be a must win game for the Raiders as the hated Chiefs will be right behind or tied with the Oakland Raiders for first place in the AFC West. McFadden will be leaned upon heavily to get this one done and he will come through for the Raiders.
He will have 108 yards on 15 carries with a 40-yard touchdown run.
McFadden will add 30 yards receiving on 3 catches without a receiving touchdown.
The Raiders complete the season sweep with a 28-21 win and need to win one more to win the AFC West.
Week 17: Vs the San Diego Chargers
Week 16 will be the game of all games as the Raiders host the Chargers with the winner capturing the AFC West. McFadden will have himself a whale of a game with 111 yards on just 12 carries with a 44 -yard touchdown run.
He will catch two balls for 15 yards as well.
Having done his damage in the first half, Bush will get most of the work to kill the clock with the lead.
The Raiders will win the game 30-21 and also win the AFC West.
Darren McFadden upgraded his break through season in 2010 to a break out season in 2011.
With that, the Raiders were able to break out.
McFadden ended his 2011 with 1,653 yards rushing and 613 yards receiving. That's a whopping total of 2,266 total yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns to go with it.
McFadden's totals lead the Raiders to a 11-5 record and an AFC West division title. His totals will also make him a candidate for the NFL MVP award.