Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Team Al Davis Built: Oakland Raiders Season Preview

2011 Record: 8-8

2011 Ranks
Total Offense: 9
Rush Offense: 7
Pass Offense: 11
Scoring Offense: 16
Total Defense: 29
Run Defense: 27
Pass Defense: 27
Scoring Defense: 29


The Raiders picked up Carson Palmer in a trade with the Bengals last year and after stumbling out of the gate, Palmer started to come into his own. Former first round pick Darius Heyward-Bey had one of the better months of December in the league. DHB had 456 yards and 3 touchdowns over his last 5 games and finished the season with 975 yards and 4 TDs, more than DOUBLE his career numbers up until last year. Darren McFadden is one of the best backs in the league when he's healthy, but his health has been an issue - he hasn't played in more than 13 games in his 4 NFL seasons. This is a team with weapons at the top, but they aren't very deep. If they can stay healthy, they can compete, but injuries could derail their chances at a division title.


Every year, it seems like the Raiders lose one of their biggest play-makers on defense and every year they still find a way to surprise teams with their aggressive defensive scheme. This may be the year when the departures finally catch up with them, but Oakland has built a defense of solid but not spectacular players.


It isn't often that a team has two of the best in the game on Special Teams, but punter Shane Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski are arguably the best punter and placekicker of this generation.


The departures on defense finally catch up with them and a lack of depth on offense leaves them stumbling down the stretch. Look for a fast start though. I'm scared of the Steelers trip to Oakland in Week 3. 5-11.

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