With a new owner, general manager and head coach at the helm, 2012 is the dawn of a new era for Raider Nation. A week after their season-opening Monday night home game with the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders head to Miami to face the Dolphins, where they are listed as 2.5-point early road favorites in our NFL odds.
The shakeup in Oakland has been badly needed for years when you realize this once-proud franchise has not made the playoffs or even posted a winning record since they lost the Super Bowl following the 2002 season. But even with all the changes in the officer ranks, any hope for a turnaround for the Raiders, who finished 8-8 last season, likely lies on the right arm of quarterback Carson Palmer.
The Raiders gave up a king’s ransom to acquire the former Bengals quarterback last season and the early dividends were negligible. Palmer performed at a sub-par level in the second half of the season, but the sliver of hope for 2012 is that Palmer was thrown into the fire last season after having no training camp or experience with the Raiders’ offensive system. However, Palmer’s preseason indicated he is likely to be better this year, and that could be enough to turn the fortunes of a Raiders’ team that does have talent.
Miami enters this contest following a thorough 30-10 beat-down at the hands of the Houston Texans. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions in that one and appears to be near the bottom of a high-end learning curve. On paper, the Raiders appear poised to cover the line as road favorites. The caveat is that Oakland will have a short week of preparation after playing on Monday night and then traveling cross-country in one of the longest road trips there is in the NFL. Still, the Dolphins have the look of a bottom-feeder this season and we’re predicting the Raiders cover the spread.