A Rundown of an Improved Oakland Raiders Squad's Season

Gary Burzell@@ohbjuanCorrespondent IIISeptember 7, 2010

A Rundown of an Improved Oakland Raiders Squad's Season

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 28: Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders p asses againsthe San Francisco 49ers during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 28, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    This should be a fun season for Oakland Raiders fans. They should be a much improved team and should have a better record than the past few dismal seasons.

    With Jason Campbell at quarterback instead of JaMarcus Russell, the offense should score a lot more; meanwhile, the defense seems poised to allow fewer big plays and points.

    What follows is my prediction of how the season will go. Of course everything that follows is predicated on key Raiders players remaining, or getting healthy. The same goes for their opponents. So let’s use that ugly word, and assume everyone stays healthy this season for the Raiders and their opponents.

    Here we go ...

Week One: Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 15:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs the ball during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on August 15, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    These teams last battled in the 2007 season in Tennessee with the Titans posting the 13-9 victory.

    One of the keys for this game will be the Raiders’ run defense. Will they be able to somewhat contain pro bowler Chris Johnson? While they don’t have to completely shut him down to win the game, they will have to prevent any of those 60-80 yard romps the Raiders have been allowing the past few years.

    On the other side of the ball, the Raiders are hoping for more production from former first round draft pick, running back Darren McFadden. They will also have to have production out of their receivers. If Darius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, and last seasons leading pass catcher Zach Miller have a good day catching the ball the Raiders will fare well.

    If McFadden and the receivers can have a good game, and the Raiders defense keeps them in the game, I think the Raiders can steal this one on the road.

    Result: 1-0 unless Chris Johnson just tramples the defense. If that happens the Raiders will be 0-1.

Week Two: St. Louis Rams at Oakland Raiders

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 2: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams passes against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL preseason game at the Edward Jones Dome on September 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    One key to this game will be whether number one overall draft pick Sam Bradford can be successful. If he can move the ball down the field it will take some of the pressure off running back Steven Jackson. That could conceivably give Jackson the opportunity to have a really good day.

    If the Raiders defense can keep Jackson and Bradford in check, the Raiders should easily defeat the Rams. If they don’t beat the Rams? Well it might be another long season.

    Result: Raiders win making record 2-0.

Week Three: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals

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    Kurt Warner is gone, making the Cardinals a worse team.
    Kurt Warner is gone, making the Cardinals a worse team.Greg Trott/Getty Images

    Kurt Warner retired at the end of last season and Matt Leinart is now with the Houston Texans.

    That means Cleveland castoff Derek Anderson will be the starter unless he is replaced by week three.

    If Anderson is the quarterback I think the Raiders can take this game. Larry Fitzgerald will not be able to perform well without someone who can get him the ball.

    When it comes to the run, I don't think Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells can be difference makers against an improved Raiders defense.

    Result: Raiders win making record 3-0

Week 4: Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders

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    NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21:  Matt Schaub #10 of the Houston Texans throws the ball against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    As you can probably tell so far, I am being very optimistic about the Raiders chances.

    When it comes to the Texans I think they might be in trouble. If Matt Schaub stays healthy and Matt Leinart isn’t the Texans QB, I think they will be able to score enough points to win this game.

    With that said, I also think the Raiders do have a chance to surprise in this game.

    The Raiders offense should be starting to click by week four and if the defense plays well they could surprise a Texans team that appears to be ready to make it to the playoffs this season.

    Result: Raiders loss making record 3-1.

Week 5: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 01:  Zach Miller #80 of the Oakland Raiders is brought down by Stephen Cooper #54 of the San Diego Chargers during the game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 1, 2009 in San Diego California. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 24-16. (Pho
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Ok, this is one game the Raiders must win. They haven’t beaten San Diego since September 28, 2003. If they plan on becoming respectable in the AFC West they must win.

    Last year the Raiders came close. The Chargers were supposed to blow out the Raiders on Monday Night to start the season; however, the Raiders gave the Chargers all they could handle. But in the end they couldn’t quite do it.

    In the second game the Chargers took care of business and handed the Raiders another defeat 24-16. However, even though it wasn’t really as close as the score indicates it was another game the Raiders could have won if they would have mustered up some offense.

    The Raiders will defeat the Chargers this year, I’m just not sure in which game. In my eyes, the Chargers really haven't been a Super Bowl contending team the past few years.

    They were a good team playing in the AFC West, which meant they played the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Denver Broncos twice each year. That is six games each year they should have won.

    The Raiders and Chiefs will be improved this year, which means the Chargers will have to fight to win these games. I think the Broncos will not have the record they had last season.

    Result: I think the Raiders will play hard to win at home making their record 4-1.

Week 6: Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 28:  Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers runs against Michael Huff #24 of the Oakland Raiders during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Ge
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Like the Raiders, the 49ers will be an improved team this season. Alex Smith, Frank Gore, and company will be playing very hard at home and will defeat the Raiders on October 17. Sorry Raiders fans.

    Result: Raiders lose to make record 4-2.

Week 7: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Chaz Schilens #81 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Bro
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    While the Raiders are an improved team, I think the Broncos will struggle this season. But the Raiders seem to play poorly in Denver. Of course with Mike Shanahan in Washington this could change. Shanahan loved to beat the Raiders at all costs.

    I think by week seven, with the success I am predicting so far, I think the Raiders will have a bit of a let down and play poorly in Denver again.

    Result: Raiders lose to make record 4-3.

Week 8: Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 02:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #85 of the Oakland Raiders catches a pass over Walter Thurmond #28 of the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 2, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Phot
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    After a poor performance in Denver the previous week I think the Raiders will bounce back against Seattle.

    With an improved offense, and a defense that by week eight will be really starting to click, the Raiders will win this one.

    Result: Raiders win making record 5-3.

Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders runs against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    While I think the Chiefs will be an improved team this year, the Raiders are more improved and should take this one at home easily. I think it might be the first lopsided win for the Raiders this season.

    Result: Raiders win making record 6-3.

Week 10: The Raiders' Bye Week

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 02:  Cheerleaders of the Oakland Raiders perform against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 2, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The past few seasons I have joked that the Raiders would probably be defeated by Bye. Not this year. Instead it will be a welcome rest for a much improved team.

Week 11: Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 06:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Oakland Raiders on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Raiders have played the Steelers tough lately, embarrassing the six-time Super Bowl champs. However, by week 11 Ben Roethlisberger will be getting into a groove and the Steelers will have something to prove at home.

    Result: Raiders lose making record 6-4.

Week 12: Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 16:  Running back Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins runs against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter on November 16, 2008 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 17-15.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Get
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    While I am really hoping the Raiders can pull this one off, I have a feeling the Dolphins will come into Oakland and win this game. This is another one of those games that I think could go either way, but my gut feeling tells me it will be a Raider loss.

    Result: Raiders lose making record 6-5.

Week 13: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

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    NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 27:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers in action against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on August 27, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    This will be the second meeting of the year between these two division rivals. This one will be in San Diego; and with the Raiders already defeating the Chargers earlier in the year, I think the Chargers will be more than ready for revenge in front of the home crowd.

    Of all the games so far I think this game has the potential to be an embarrassing lopsided defeat for the Raiders.

    Result: Raiders loss making record 6-6.

Week 14: Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 23: Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs against Stanford Routt #26 of the Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 23, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Image
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Jacksonville will be an improved team this season just like the Raiders. However, with the Raiders being embarrassed in San Diego the previous week, I think they will play extremely hard and win this game.

    Result: Raiders win on the road making record 7-6.

Week 15: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs against the Denver Broncos on September 27, 2009 during an NFL game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The Raiders will be hungry to play the Broncos after losing to them in Denver. I think this is another game the Raiders will win by more than two touchdowns.

    Result: Raiders win making record 8-6.

Week 16: Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders

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    WESTWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts scrambles as defensive lineman Gerard Warren #61 of the Oakland Raiders pursues at McAfee Coliseum December 16, 2007 in Oakland, California. The Colts won 21-14.  (Photo
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    While the Raiders will be a much improved team this year, I think Peyton Manning and company will win a close one in Oakland.

    If the Raiders are indeed an improved team that is thinking playoffs this is a game they will have to win. If they do pull it off they will be in playoff contention for the first time in years.

    Result: Raiders lose at home making record 8-7.

Week 17: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Sebastian Janikowski #11 of the Oakland Raiders kicks against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    A lot will depend on the Raiders having won the games I said they would and maybe a couple others. If they do that they will be in contention for a playoff spot. If that is the case they will defeat Kansas City big.

    If the Raiders have lost some of the games I think they will win, and are not in playoff contention, they could lose this game.

    Result: Raiders win to finish season at 9-7.

That Is How I See The Oakland Raiders 2010 Season

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11:  Richard Seymour #92 of the Oakland Raiders defends against the New York Giants on October 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Raiders 44-7.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Imag
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    So that is how I see it. Many Raiders fans are hoping for more wins than I am giving them, but considering the Raiders haven’t won more than five games since 2002 when they went to Super Bowl XXXVII, nine wins would be a fantastic season.

    Will they actually win nine games? Well injuries could play a huge roll like they always do. If key Raiders are injured they could lose more than seven games. If Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski both get injured for the season they could lose a lot more than seven games.

    If key players are injured on the opposing teams they could win more than nine games.

    Of course if they win all the games I think they will, and perhaps sneak in another victory, they may be playing in the Playoffs. Wouldn’t that be grand?

    Time will tell, but I am ready for Sunday. It should be fun.

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