There is potential to have value here in the NFL odds, but with all the outstanding concerns on offense for this team, I find it hard to believe the Raiders have a very high ceiling this year.
Carson Palmer led the Oakland passing attack to some successful numbers in 2012, but it never seemed to translate into wins. He threw for over 4000 yards and 22 touchdowns, but he also had 14 interceptions. While it wasn’t solely his fault, most people suspected Palmer was a one-year bandage. He is now gone, and with him goes both his experience and arm.
Darren McFadden once again could not stay healthy either, which was a much bigger issue than Palmer in Oakland. DMC only played in 12 games a season ago, and even when he was playing, he was extremely ineffective. He averaged only 3.3 yards per carry, had just over 700 yards in those 12 games, and only 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving). If he is not there to set up the passing game in Oakland, things might even get worse than they were last season.
McFadden is one thing, but until he gets on the field and when he gets injured, he is probably set for a successful season beforehand. He is too talented not to at least have 1000 yards rushing, but he will need to play in 15 or more games to do it. I think a bigger question mark is in their receiving core. They lost Brandon Myers in free agency, and he was their number one pass catcher last season, ahead of Denarius Moore. They also lost Darrius Heyward-Bay.
I like Moore’s talent, but I don’t think he is a number one receiver. In fact, he is the only real pass catching weapon the Raiders have at this point in the offseason. Rod Streater is the next highest guy on their depth chart, and he had all of 36 receptions last season. With no one to pull coverage off of Moore, (especially if DMC gets hurt again) this offense is going to struggle, and I haven’t even gotten to the biggest question.
Matt Flynn comes in to be the starter this season under center, and with a total 35 passes in his NFL career these past five years, things don’t look good in the leadership department in Oakland. The talent has taken a big downgrade in Oakland, and I’m not sold on if Flynn can be the answer by the bay. All together, you can see why I’m pretty bearish on the Raiders.
Raider fans need to pray to all of their gods that McFadden stays healthy this season. His health is the difference between 7-9 SU and 3-13 SU for Oakland. You also need to pray that Flynn is the guy you think he is, because if he isn’t, it’s going to be yet another embarrassing season for Raider fans, while the rest of the league chimes in with “I told you so’s.” I’m not going to run to add the Raiders’ to my NFL picks this season. They have lost more ground than they have gained on offense this offseason.
My Grade: C
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