By Ryan Ratty @RyanRattyNFL on April 26, 2014
While their fans would like to believe otherwise, the reality is that the Oakland Raiders are still a few good years away from competing. The Raiders brought in a couple of quality free agents, but their offense needs more weapons and their defense is still young. The 2014 season will be a good learning experience for Oakland. Here are my predictions for the Raiders for next season.
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It will be an interesting game in Week 1 between the Raiders and the Jets. Both have mixed predictions for next season, and watching them play will give their fans a sample size of what to expect in 2014. The Jets have one of the best defenses in the league and that will likely be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Jets 21-6 Raiders (0-1)
Like Oakland, the Texans are also picking in the top-five. The difference is that the Texans have a ton of talent, while the Raiders are lacking in that category. Once the Texans insert a new quarterback, they are honestly a playoff team. That being said, this game will be Oakland's first home. The team will rally behind their fans and I see Oakland taking this one late.
Prediction: Raiders 20-13 Texans (1-1)
Uh oh. The Raiders will travel across the country to play the Patriots, a team that will be even better from last year's 12-4 team. The Patriots added Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and they brought back offensive weapon Julian Edelman. This game will be ugly for Oakland. Expect a victory for the Patriots by a large margin.
Prediction: Patriots 35-13 Raiders (1-2)
Another home game, another win for the Raiders. Miami will have to travel to California to play a Raiders team that will be one week away from their bye week. The Raiders get a good game from their defense and get their second victory of the year. James Jones could be in for a big game in this one.
Prediction: Raiders 14-6 Dolphins (2-2)
The Raiders get a week off before playing their first divisional game against the San Diego Chargers. Early bye weeks are rough because teams that have them get tired towards the end of the season.
The Chargers were able to win a game in the playoffs last year before losing to the Broncos in a tightly-contested game. If San Diego's defense can get healthier, they have a real shot at being the sleeper team in the AFC. I said earlier that Oakland has a young defense. That being said, Philip Rivers will have a field day against Oakland's secondary.
Prediction: Chargers 28-13 Raiders (2-3)
The Arizona Cardinals were a tough out last year. Although they didn't make the playoffs, the Cardinals were a success in Bruce Arians' first year. In 2014, Arizona will be looking to make the playoffs. While they have their inconsistencies on offense, the Cardinals boast one of the league's best defenses. That will be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Cardinals 24-9 Raiders (2-4)
The Cleveland Browns are another team that has failed to be successful in many years. Annually, Cleveland has some of the best fans. The Browns also seem to sell out and they are loyal, despite their team being very subpar. In a battle of two bad teams, the Raiders simply have more talent. The Raiders coast in this one.
Prediction: Raiders 24-13 Browns (3-4)
If you thought the Patriots game was a tough one, expect this one to be much worse. Seattle has the best defense in the league, led by the league's best defensive player in Richard Sherman. Even worse, the Raiders will travel north to play in the league's most feared stadium. Seattle should have their way with the Raiders in this one.
Prediction: Seahawks 42-10 Raiders (3-5)
A week after playing the Super Bowl champion, the Raiders will travel home to play the team that lost to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Despite getting blown out by Seattle in the big game, the Broncos greatly improved in the offseason. Denver added Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and Emmanuel Sanders. Denver should be must better on the defensive end in 2014. Expect another blowout here.
Prediction: Broncos 38-13 Raiders (3-6)
I have a feeling this one is going to be a close win. At this point, head coach Dennis Allen will likely be competing for his job. For all we know, Allen could go on to be a great coach. The problem is that the Raiders aren't giving him a lot of time and he doesn't have much competition to work with. Another loss for Oakland, but it will be close.
Prediction: Chargers 27-24 Raiders (3-7)
This is the game Allen will be fired for if they lose. The Chiefs, like the Broncos and the Chargers, made the playoffs in 2013. It is also worth mentioning that at a time in 2013, the Chiefs were the best team in all of football. Their talented defense and their rushing attack led by Jamaal Charles will be the difference-maker in this one.
Prediction: Chiefs 23-13 Raiders (3-8)
This will likely be the first game of the interim head coach. My guess is Greg Olson, the offensive coordinator for the Raiders. That being sad, the Raiders will rally behind his first game and win this win against a young Rams team. This one has the makings of a low-scoring, tightly-contested game.
Prediction: Raiders 13-9 Rams (4-8)
The Battle of the Bay. In what happens once every four years, the Raiders will play the 49ers for bragging rights. In recent memory, 49er fans have been able to ridicule Raider fans for their years of being in last place. This game will be a fun one. Raider fans will be rowdy, despite being well out of playoff contention. Expect a tight one here, but the 49ers pull it out late.
Prediction: 49ers 24-23 Raiders (4-9)
The Chiefs will be in need of win here to compete with the Broncos for the AFC West divisional crown, and they will get one here with a blowout victory. The Chiefs are a tough team to play at home, and the Raiders will have trouble stopping Alex Smith. The Chiefs will take this one comfortably.
Prediction: Chiefs 28-17 Raiders (4-10)
Buffalo will be another team that will be bad in 2014. Like Oakland, the Bills are young and they are a few years away from being a good team. The Bills will have to travel across the country to play this one and the Raiders will have an advantage here. Maurice Jones-Drew should have a huge day here if he is healthy at this point in the season.
Prediction: Raiders 17-9 Bills (5-10)
To end the 2014-2015 season, the Raiders will travel east to play at Mile High. The Broncos will be gearing up for the playoffs at this point, but that doesn't mean they're going to forget about their Week 17 matchup with the Raiders. Oakland's players will be playing for their jobs in this one. It'll be a close one, but backup quarterback Brock Osweiler will get it done for Denver.
Prediction: Broncos 28-20 Raiders (5-11)
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