Hey Raidernation! It’s almost that time of year. Yes, I am talking about football season. The offseason is almost at end and we are moving on to minicamps. During the offseason, the Oakland Raiders kicked-off the post-Al Davis era by hiring Reggie McKenzie to takeover football operations. Reggie McKenzie hired his first Head Coach; Dennis Allen. Allen brought in Gregg Knapp to lead to offense, and Jason Tarver to help him run the defense. The Oakland Raiders had a solid offseason. They dumped a lot of bad contracts and signed solid, low-price veterans to fill needs. They followed-up with a solid draft. They added one starter and a couple of players who provide immediate depth. There are still major questions, but with a new scheme on offense and defense, and players like; Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, and Carson Palmer returning, it should be an interesting year.
Week 1: Chargers vs. Raiders
The energy of the home crowd will help power the Raiders to a victory in the first game of the season. Carson Palmer will be the deciding factor in this shootout, helping the Raiders keep-up with Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ explosive offense. The defense’s ability to get a last-minute stop will allow the Raiders to win a close one.
Score: Chargers 35, Raiders 38
Week 2: Raiders vs. Dolphins
This game will be a defensive slug-fest. Both teams will struggle to get any rhythm on offense. The deciding factor in this game, again, will be Carson Palmer. The Dolphins lack of QB play will hurt them in the end. The defense will have a field day against Tannehill, picking-him-off 3 times during the game. Carson Palmer will score a game-winning touchdown in the last 2 minutes of the game.
Score: Raiders 13, Dolphins 6
Week 3: Steelers vs. Raiders
The Raiders will lose their first game of the season versus the Steelers. The Raiders’ veteran Cornerbacks will struggle to keep-up with Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. The Steelers re-tooled )-line will allow them to run the ball once they get the lead, and they will run out the clock. Carson Palmer will struggle against the exotic blitzes the Steelers will throw at him.
Score: Steelers 28, Raiders 17
Week 4: Raiders vs. Broncos
The Broncos will be favored with Peyton Manning and their re-tooled offense, but the Raiders will stun them at Mile High. The Broncos’ issues in the interior of the D-line will allow the Raiders to have immense success running inside zone run’s with McFadden. The Raiders will play ball-control on offense, and the defense will bend, but not break, forcing the Broncos to settle for field goals. The Raiders will win close one.
Score: Raiders 20, Broncos 16
Week 5: Bye-Week
The Raiders will embarrass the Bye-Week. Their veterans and injured players will get rest and be ready for the stretch.
Score: Raiders 186, Bye-Week 0
Week 6: Raiders vs. Falcons
The Raiders will have issues defending against the pass. Both Julio Jones and Roddy White will have a huge game against the Raiders’ secondary. Carson Palmer and the Raiders’ offense will have a huge game, but they will fall in a high-scoring affair against the Falcons.
Score: Raiders 30, Falcons 35
Week 7: Jaguars vs. Raiders
Even with the additions of Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, the Jaguars offense will struggle with Blaine “I can’t handle any pain” Gabbert. The Raiders” D will focus on Maurice Jones-Drew and shutdown the Jags’ offense. The Raiders’ offense will tire-out the Jags’ D and will score a lot of points in the second half. The Raiders will win in a blowout fashion.
Score: Jaguars 9, Raiders 31
Week 8: Raiders vs. Chiefs
The Raiders will have an up-and-down game. The Raiders will score some points, but the Chiefs will force turnovers late in the game. Jamaal Charles and Matt Cassell will have a huge game. The Raiders will lose a close-one due to turnovers and mental errors.
Score: Raiders 17, Chiefs 28
Week 9: Buccaneers vs. Raiders
The Raiders will have a huge bouce-back game against the Buccaneers. Carson Palmer will have a field-day against the Bucs’ shaky secondary, and Darren McFadden will have a good game against the Bucs mediocre Linebacking corps. The Raiders will shut-down Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount, putting the game in Josh Freeman’s hands. Raiders win big in front of the home crowd.
Score: Buccaneers 10, Raiders 28
Week 10: Raiders vs. Ravens
The defense will be able to take advantage of Joe Flacco’s erratic play, forcing over 4 interceptions. With Terrell Suggs likely out, Carson Palmer will be able to pick apart the overrated Ravens D.
Score: Raiders 20, Ravens 10
Week 11: Saints vs. Raiders
This will be another shootout in Oakland. Drew Brees and Carson Palmer will both have huge games. Drew Brees will ultimately win the game for the Saints, but it’ll be a close game
Score: Saints 30, Raiders 24
Week 12: Raiders vs. Bengals
The Bengals improves almost every area of their team in the draft. The Raiders will struggle in all area’s against one of the most exciting young teams to watch. Carson Palmer will struggle against his old team.
Score: Raiders 16, Bengals 21
Week 13: Browns vs. Raiders
The Browns will be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year. As long as the Raiders shutdown Trent Richardson, this will be a cakewalk.
Score: Browns 3, Raiders 35
Week 14: Broncos vs. Raiders
McFadden and Palmer will both have huge games, but Peyton Manning will learn from his mistakes in the first game. The Broncos will win this one in a nail-biter.
Score: Broncos 24, Raiders 21
Week 15: Chiefs vs. Raiders
The Raiders will avenge their loss earlier in the season. The defense will rebound, having a excellent game against the Chiefs’ offense. Raiders get a solid win at home.
Score: Raiders 19, Chiefs 6
Week 16: Raiders vs. Panthers
Cam Newton will be hard for the Raiders to handle. The defense will struggle to contain him. The offense will have a good outing, but in the end, Cam Newton will be too much for the Raiders to handle.
Score: Panthers 34, Raiders 28
Week 17: Raiders vs. Chargers
The Chargers will be out of the playoff-race at this point, but they will want to avenge their opening-week loss and show the world the won’t rollover. It will be a close game, going into overtime. With a division title in their grasps, the Raiders will win in overtime.
Score: Raiders 16, Chargers 13 (OT)
Overall Record: 9-7
In a AFC West that has a lot of questions, a 9-7 record may be enough for the Raiders to win the division. The defense will make a decent improvement from last year, but the offense will carry this team in the 2012 season. Reggie McKenzie has done a good job improving the roster with the little resources he had. The team should continue to gel and adjust to the new schemes going into the 2013 season, and with the cap-space that will be available to us in 2013 should allow Reggie McKenzie to improve the team even more.