Was Oakland Raiders' 2013 Season an Improvement Like GM Reggie McKenzie Says?

By Carlton Chin
Reggie McKenzie
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL regular season ending, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie called this year’s Raiders team an improvement over last year. After consecutive 4-12 seasons, long-suffering Raiders fans may have differing opinions.

Indeed, the Raiders have not had a winning season since the 2002 regular season when the 11-5 Raiders went to the Super Bowl as AFC Champions.  Besides consecutive 8-8 seasons in 2010 and 2011, the Raiders and their fans have suffered through mostly 4-12 and 5-11 seasons in the AFC West.

So is GM McKenzie correct in his assessment? Let’s take a closer look at the 2013 Raiders. At mid-season, the Raiders were hovering near the .500 level. The Raiders stood at 3-4 after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 27 and 4-6 after beating the Houston Texans on Nov. 17. The Raiders played competitive football for most of the season. However, “competitive” is difficult – and won’t lead to many wins – when the other teams in your division are all playoff-caliber teams.

After the 28-23 victory over the Texans, the Raiders finished the season in a tailspin, losing six games in row. The losing streak was a bitter way to end the season with three bad losses at home. Notably, however, the Raiders ended the season by playing three consecutive games against playoff-bound divisional rivals. The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers combined for a record of 33-15, or a winning percentage of .688. During the season-ending losing streak, the Raiders faced only one team with a losing record: the Tennessee Titans (7-9).

Overall, this year’s 4-12 Raiders team had a tougher schedule than last year’s 4-12 squad as measured by strength of schedule (0.2 in 2013 versus -1.3 in 2012, according to SportsReference.com).  How do other statistics compare from 2012 to 2013?  Below is a summary of how the team performed over the past two years.  There is general improvement, especially with the tougher schedule.






Strength of Schedule



Offense – Points For (Rank)

290 (26)

322 (24)

Defense – Points Against (Rank)

443 (28)

453 (29)

Point Differential (Rank)

-153 (29

-131 (29)

Takeaway Differential (Rank)

-7 (23)

-9 (27)

In future articles, we will take a closer look at the Raiders and give a report card on more specific components of the team.

Carlton Chin is a contributor at RantSports.com.  Please follow him at Twitter @QuantFacts or Facebook.  

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