Predicting the Raiders season record

The Raiders have a favorable schedule this season. Every game they play is winnable. On the other hand, there are really no given wins here. I have little doubt the Raiders will lose a couple games they should win and win a couple games they should lose. With that in mind, here is how I see the season for the Raiders playing itself out.

Week 1: Raiders at Tennessee Titans 10:00 am CBS

The Raiders head into Tennessee to take on the Titans with the running threats of Chris Johnson and Vince Young. As for the Raiders, they will likely be without their starting running back, Michael Bush. The Raiders will have to keep a spy on Vince Young at all times which mean man coverage all day from the corners and keeping the strong safety up close to the line. They will also no doubt give up a couple of big runs to Johnson. This will be a hard fought game and I predict the Raiders will give up three big runs to the combo of VY and CJ2K. LOSS (0-1)

Week 2: St Louis Rams at Raiders 1:00 pm FOX

The Raiders have their first home game versus the lowly Rams. The Rams will be taking the field with a rookie quarterback guiding a rebuilding squad. The Raiders will need to battle overconfidence in this one but the high of playing at home with this revitalized defense and steady offense will mean they come out with the victory. WIN (1-1)

Week 3: Raiders at Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm CBS

The Cardinals are a mess by most indications. They lost nearly all of their key components this offseason– their best defender Karlos Dansby, Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner and star WR Anquan Boldin. They still have WR Larry Fitzgerald, but who is going to get the ball to him? They are now relying on castoff Derek Anderson to lead the offense. The Cardinals are in for a rough road and the Raiders will contribute to that. WIN (2-1)

Week 4: Houston Texans at Raiders 1:00 pm CBS

The Texans and Raiders always play each other tough. Going into the 2008 season game, the Texans had never lost to the Raiders in their existence. The Raiders pulled out a decisive victory in that game but the Texans continue to improve and I have a feeling the Raiders will let this one slip through their fingers. LOSS (2-2)

Week 5: San Diego Chargers at Raiders 1:00 pm CBS

The Raiders are catching up to the Chargers and they have played them tough the past few seasons. But for some reason the Chargers always pull out a victory and it seems to be worse on the Raiders’ home field. This game will not be the point at which the Raiders shake that monkey off their back just yet. LOSS (2-3)

Week 6: Raiders at San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm CBS

These are two very evenly matched teams. We saw that in the third preseason game. However, the areas that the Raiders had issues in the game are all areas that should be much better by this point in the season. Jason Campbell will be hitting his stride, Veldheer will have settled in at center, Richard Seymour will be back, and Rolando McClain will be getting better as well. The Raiders get the better of the 49ers in a close one. WIN (3-3)

Week 7: Raiders at Denver Broncos 1:00 CBS

The Broncos are in trouble. They lost their top pass rusher Elvis Dumervil for the season and traded away their best receiver Brandon Marshall. They replaced Marshall with Demaryius Thomas but he will have some growing pains and is not likely to be the quality receiver Marshall is. They also can’t settle on a runningback because it appears none of them are all that great. This from a team that fell into a tail spin the last half of last season to miss the playoffs after starting out 6-0. Raiders take another game in Denver for the third straight year. WIN (4-3)

Week 8: Seattle Seahawks at Raiders 1:00 FOX

Everyone seems to agree the Seahawks had a great draft. I also agree but let’s make no mistake that we are talking about rookies here. People always expect instant results from rookies and it almost never happens. They will take time to catch up to the speed of the NFL. The Seahawks are in rebuilding mode. All except Matt Hasselback, of course, whose last good season was 2007. Well, that is if he even plays in this game. He also has only started an entire 16 game season 3 times in his 11 year career.  WIN (5-3)

Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs at Raiders 1:00 CBS

Matt Cassell turning out to be the dud we all pretty much knew he would be. He was clearly a product of the Patriots system and yet former Patriot assistant and new Bronco head coach Josh McDaniels wanted him so bad he alienated the Broncos former Pro Bowl quarterback in the process. Former Pats assistant general manager and new Chiefs general manager wanted him so bad he threw a laughable amount money at him. And suuprise, suuprise, he sucks. Who woulda thought that a guy who, prior to coming in for Tom Brady in New England, hadn’t started a game since highschool, was not going to be a star? Even aside from Cassel the Chiefs are just terrible.  WIN (6-3)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers 10:00 am CBS

Didn’t the Raiders just play these guys in Pittsburgh? Weird that they should travel to Pittsburgh two seasons in a row to play the Steelers. The Steelers have lost a couple of key pieces this offseason in Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes and right tackle Willie Colon. Their pass protection was suspect before. Now they have replaced Colon with Flozell Adams who was let go by the Cowboys because is he done. However, Bruce Gradkowski will be watching from the sideline this time so last year’s magic will not be there. Plus, after winning four straight games, the Raiders come out of the bye a bit overconfident, which has been their bane the past few years. I think the Raiders fall just short this time around. LOSS (6-4)

Week 12: Miami Dolphins at Raiders 1:00 pm CBS

The Dolphins looked like they were improving last season. They were just 2-3 over their final five games, but all of those game  were won or lost within a touchdown or less. Chad Henne also threw for over 300 yards in three of those final five games. Now they have added Brandon Marshall to the team of whom the Raiders have always had some difficulty with.  It is possible that the Raiders will have Nnamdi Asomugha shadowing Marshall as opposed to simply covering the left side of the field all day. This will help but the wildcat combined with the now seasoned Chad Henne will give the Dolphins a decisive edge in time of possession and the edge in the game.  LOSS (6-5)

Week 13: Raiders at San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm CBS

Coming off a tough loss to the Dolphins at home, the Raiders go to San Diego with the Chargers long win streak over them intact. By this point, the Raiders offense is running on all cylinders. If things are going as planned for the Raiders, new center/quarterback duo of Jason Campbell and Jared Veldheer are well acclimated, Darrius Heyward-Bey has gotten over his nervousness, and Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens are both healthy. The defense has found it’s identity and Rolando McClain has caught up to the speed of the NFL. The losing streak ends on this day. WIN (7-5)

Week 14: Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars 10:00 am CBS

Raiders meet up with their former middle linebacker and leading tackler, Kirk Morrison. But it won’t matter how much Captain Kirk  knew from his days in Oakland because the Raiders have a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. On the other hand, the Raiders have both John Henderson and Quentin Groves to impart their knowledge of the Jaguars. The Raiders will have some trouble with Maurice Jones Drew , as most teams do, but he won’t be able to do it all on his own. WIN (8-5)

Week 15: Denver Broncos at Raiders 1:00 pm CBS

While the Raiders have gotten the best of the Broncos in Denver in recent years, the Broncos have returned the favor on the Raiders’ home field. Not this year. The Broncos have the oldest secondary in the NFL and just like last year, they will have run out of gas by this late in the season. The Broncos will be well out of playoff contention by this point which means they could decide to try out Brady Quinn or Tim Tebow at quarterback, making it an even greater probability of a blowout. WIN (9-5)

Week 16: Indianapolis Colts at Raiders 1:00 pm CBS

The only way I see the Raiders winning this game is if the Colts are so far ahead that they rest their starters for the final two games. I don’t think that will happen though. LOSS (9-6)

Week 17: Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm CBS

Every year there are a couple games that sneak up on the Raiders. This will be one such game. The Chiefs have a young team and they will have gotten better as the season goes along. They will also have nothing to lose by this point and will look to go out with a bang to finish the season. Chiefs win a wild one. LOSS (9-7)

Raiders final record: 9-7, 2nd in AFC West

Disclaimer

The Range for the Raiders could really be anywhere from another 5-11 season to as much as 12-4 if all the pieces were to fall into place. But after losing some winnable ones and winning some surprises, the record should shake out to 9-7 anyway. And with there being tough competition for the runner-up in all of the other AFC divisions, that will most likely not be enough to grab a wildcard spot.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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