Blaine Spencer previews the Raiders’ upcoming season after their move to Vegas and makes his predictions for the AFC West.
The Las Vegas Raiders are just a few short months removed from the 2019 season and leaving their old home at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland to the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the 2020 season looks like a year of optimism from going to the prey to the predators.
The interesting acquisition was the bringing in of quarterback Marcus Mariota from Tennessee. The questions about Derek Carr have finally put him on the hot seat with a potential short lease as Coach John Gruden has shown praise to Mariota.
Carr will need to show quality with all of his weapons. He put up solid numbers last season with literally nobody to throw the ball too other than Waller. Just to have some weapons should show an increase in offensive success.
The 2020 offense is loaded with young talent and potentially now needs to be able to please everyone and spread the ball around. The team goes through the acquisition of Henry Ruggs III who is the speedster out of Alabama. He has sure hands and the compliment of the second year of Josh Jacobs will help showcase speed and toughness.
Not to forget, the Raiders have one of the best tight ends in football in Darren Waller and don’t forget who is backup is, future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. The pressure will surely be on Carr as he does not have the excuse of unhealthy weapons around him.
Lost with all of the skill players is one of the top offensive lines in the NFL. They are hostile, mobile and agile. This offense will be able to showcase their strengths against the AFC West in Kansas City and Denver.
The defense needed a lot of work after the 2019 season. GM Mike Mayock and Gruden needed to start revamping the defense. Therefore, the squad attacked free agency.
In free agency, the squad brought in linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkski. Both of them will start and be crucial to upgrade the defense. The draft selection of Tanner Muse last season is an underrated selection being a Swiss Army Knife of talent who can play multiple decisions. He has already shown brilliance to create a solid trio of fearsome hitters.
The return of Johnathan Abram at safety from injury will be able to be an immediate impact on the back-end. The acquisitions of Damarius Randall and Jeff Heath will be solid veteran presences to lend stability and teach Abram the hopes.
The Raiders will show extreme growth this season but arguably the AFC West is the best division in football by depth. You have three other teams in the Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers who are ultimately contenders to make the playoffs with the Chiefs as the reigning Super Bowl champions.
I think the Raiders real question is that if things get off to a rocky start, how long will it be to the change of quarterback. The team needs to show some promise with the new move to Las Vegas.
The odds for the Raiders to win the Super Bowl in the 2020-21 season is +6600 according to DraftKings Sportsbook. I’m not predicting a Super Bowl for the silver and black but the growth needs to be shown in order to draw in the fans of Las Vegas.
Prediction: 8-8, 3rd in AFC West
The Raiders do have a favorable schedule but it will all come down to the divisional record. I think this is where they will ultimately struggle which will create the .500 record. Gruden signed a 10-year contract which means he needs to have the team show significant progress.
The team will have its up and downs and be around .500 I believe which is what the Raiders have been known for in recent decades. However, this is a transition period for the squad with the move to Vegas so the .500 season is a good sign for the years to come.