The Raiders are the hardest team to predict. They went 8-8 but 6-0 in the division and that wasn’t good enough to bring back Tom Cable (I think that’s a mistake). Hue Jackson is now the head coach and he will look to get the Raiders back to the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Offensively, the team will rely on RB Darren McFadden and Michael Bush as their number 2 back. Jason Campbell is back as the starting QB and for once it looks like he’s getting some respect from around the NFL. The Raiders signed TE Kevin Boss after Zach Miller departed in free agency. The big question mark is the WR core. Their number 1 and 2 receivers are Darius Heyward-Bay and Jacoby Ford. That is not enough to get it done for me.
Defensively, the biggest news was the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha to the Eagles in the offseason but the key to this defense is the interior line of Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. If they can get pressure on the QB or make rushing lanes for Rolando McClain and company then the weak cornerbacks may not be picked on as much.
X-Factor: The WR core – Teams are going to stack 8 guys in the box to try to stop McFadden and if the Raiders WR core including Kevin Boss can’t catch the ball or get open, the Raiders may be making a step back this year.
How They’ll Finish: The Raiders will take a step back with another losing season. I can’t see the Raiders having a better record than the Chiefs and Chargers. They will finish 7-9 for 3rd in the AFC West.