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32 Teams in 32 Days: Oakland Raiders

Key Additions 

Marshawn Lynch: Beast Mode is back. After a brief retirement last season, running back Marshawn Lynch decided to join the Raiders after hearing that they would move to Las Vegas in 2019. Lynch wants to bring another championship to his hometown and be a local hero before hanging up the cleats again.

Jared Cook: Taken in this year’s free agency from the Green Bay Packers, tight end Jared Cook gives Derek Carr a legitimate red zone threat. This is Carr’s first legitimate tight end that can become a large part of this offense.

Gareon Conley: Taken in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, cornerback Gareon Conley out of Ohio State was selected by Oakland to add some much needed depth at this position. Now cleared of a rape allegation, Conley could start opposite Sean Smith and with Smith having an assault charge against him, Conley could see loads of playing time this season.

The Offense

The offense is one of the most well-rounded in the NFL.

Quarterback Derek Carr is an ascending superstar and will have a career year granted he’s healthy. Running back Marshawn Lynch is somewhat of a wild card, as he hasn’t played since the 2015 season, and he was injured a lot in that season. He apparently looks good in training camp, so Lynch could be special this upcoming year.

The receiving trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts make a solid group for Derek Carr to throw to. Tight end Jared Cook could be a reliable target for Carr also.

The offensive line is a top 5 unit in the NFL. This offensive line consists of Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Marshall Newhouse. This line will block well for Carr and will create openings for Lynch which he’s never seen before, since Seattle has never had a great offensive line for him.

The Defense

The defense isn’t as prolific as the offense, but it’s still a solid group.

Star pass rusher Khalil Mack will lead this defense into a deep playoff push. The defensive line isn’t great, especially in the middle with Justin Ellis and rookie Eddie Vanderdoes, but Mack makes this a middle of the pack unit.

The linebacking corps isn’t great, but there’s some intriguing players in this unit. Bruce Irvin is by far the best linebacker on this team and he’ll likely be joined with Jelani Jenkins, rookie Marquel Lee and Cory James.

The secondary is the best part of this defense. Cornerbacks Sean Smith, Gareon Conley, David Amerson and T.J. Carrie is a solid starting group with good depth–something rare to find in the NFL. The safeties in Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson makes a great duo. Nelson is old, but rookies Obi Melifonwu and Shalom Luani gives this position solid depth.

Team Schedule and Season Outlook

Best Case Scenario: (13-3)

The Raiders can win 13 games if they dominate on the road and win the close games. Some games to look out for are Week 4 at Denver, both Week 7 and Week 14 against Kansas City, Week 11 against New England and Week 15 against Dallas.

Health is also a factor. Derek Carr and Marshawn Lynch must stay healthy, as well as be limited in their injuries as a team this year.

Worst Case Scenario: (11-5)

Again, the close games and the team’s health will be a deciding factor for this team’s success.

If key players such as Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper or Khalil Mack become injured for an extended period of time, the Raiders will suffer accordingly. If they lose the close games as well, 11-5 is likely the worst they’ll do.

My Predictions

Week 1: @ Tennessee

Result: (1-0)

Week 2: vs. NY Jets

Result: W (2-0)

Week 3: @ Washington

Result: (3-0)

Week 4: @ Denver

Result: (3-1)

Week 5: vs. Baltimore

Result: (4-1)

Week 6: vs. LA Chargers

Result: (5-1)

Week 7: vs. Kansas City

Result: (5-2)

Week 8: @ Buffalo

Result: (6-2)

Week 9: @ Miami

Result: (7-2)

Week 10: Bye Week

Week 11: vs. New England

Result: (8-2)

Week 12: vs. Denver

Result: (9-2)

Week 13: vs. NY Giants

Result: (10-2)

Week 14: @ Kansas City

Result: (10-3)

Week 15: vs. Dallas

Result: (10-4)

Week 16: @ Philadelphia

Result: (11-4)

Week 17: @ LA Chargers

Result: (12-4)

In conclusion, the Raiders are bound to make the playoffs either as AFC West champions or clinching a wild card spot. If the Raiders win the more competitive games and they stay relatively healthy, the Raiders could make a Super Bowl run this season.

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