Every win will matter, as they will be at a premium due to the difficult schedule the four teams will navigate.
Here are three players, one from each of the other teams, that Oakland must account for and contain if they are to be successful and have any chance of a division title in 2012.
Von Miller, Linebacker, Denver Broncos-Miller should join the ranks of the NFL’s elite pass-rushers this season. I believe he is already the best in the division at causing havoc in backfields. Given Oakland’s receiving arsenal, you know the Raiders are gonna want to air it out a lot. To do this, they’ll need to know where Miller is at all times and keep him out of Carson Palmer’s face.
Ryan Mathews, Running Back, Chargers-Philip Rivers is gonna do what he does and put up gaudy passing numbers all season. Oakland will need to keep the Chargers one dimensional by limiting Mathews’ success. If San Diego can develop a solid running game with Mathews, that will mean bad news for the rest of the division. Having a linebacker shadow him will be Oakland’s best option.
Tony Moeaki, Tight End, Chiefs-Moeaki’s return from injury means Matt Cassel gets his safety valve back. Oakland will need to completly remove him as an option in the passing game and force Cassel to look downfield at deeper routes that take more time. If Moeaki develops any type of chemistry with Cassel early on, it will cause nightmares in the AFC West, given the other talent Cassel has to throw to.