6 Reasons the Oakland Raiders Will Win the AFC West in 2014

6 Reasons the Oakland Raiders Will Win the AFC West in 2014

Open Slide
Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images Sport

It seems outlandish to say after more than a decade of futility, but the Raiders have had a tremendous offseason that has seen them address their needs and upgrade the team at virtually every position. Areas that were distinct liabilities in 2013 have become strengths in 2014, and the Raiders seem well poised to be a team on the rise this season.

The AFC West is a tough division, but here are six reasons they can walk away with the title...

6. A Vastly Improved Offensive Line

O Line
John W. McDonough / Getty Images Sport

6. A Vastly Improved Offensive Line

O Line
John W. McDonough / Getty Images Sport

It was bad enough that the Raiders had two highly-inconsistent QBs in Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin in 2013. It was made worse by an offensive line that couldn't keep them upright long enough for either QB to make the smart throws. But with a number of new additions this offseason, Oakland's revamped offensive line will be a strength this season and will give new QB Matt Schaub all the time he needs to pick a defense apart and make plays.

5. An Explosive Running Game

MJD
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. An Explosive Running Game

MJD
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Though not terrible in 2013, the Raiders' rushing attack lacked true explosiveness. With the re-signing of Darren McFadden, the addition of Maurice Jones-Drew and the return of Latavius Murray, healthy again after foot and ankle injuries last season, Oakland has a three-headed beast in the backfield that is explosive. All three have the ability to score from anywhere on the field and if they can stay healthy, will give opposing defenses fits.

4. More Consistent Play from the Receivers

Streater
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. More Consistent Play from the Receivers

Streater
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland has endured inconsistent play from a talented group of receivers for a few years now. They brought in veteran James Jones to teach them how to play the position with consistency. And thus far, it seems to be paying dividends as Juron Criner and Andre Holmes have stepped up, Rod Streater is looking to continue building on his solid 2013 and even Greg Little has looked good so far. Oakland looks to have a very potent passing game in 2014.

3. A Greatly Improved and More Stable Quarterbacking Situation

Schaub
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. A Greatly Improved and More Stable Quarterbacking Situation

Schaub
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Schaub will rebound from a terrible 2013 season. With a line to protect him, running backs who will keep defenses honest and receivers who can blow by defenders, Schaub has plenty of weapons at his disposal -- things he did not have in Houston. Derek Carr is the QB of the future and will have his chance, but for 2014, Schaub will remain in control and will lead the offense to heights it's not seen in more than a decade.

2. A Brutal Defense that Will Close Games

Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. A Brutal Defense that Will Close Games

Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Defense wins championships. Plain and simple. And knowing that, GM Reggie McKenzie brought in veterans with a championship pedigree like Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, C.J. Wilson and Tarrell Brown to play alongside – and mentor – young playmakers like Khalil Mack, Sio Moore, DJ Hayden, Keith McGill and T.J. Carrie. This defensive unit is the most talented the Raiders have had in years and they will be a disruptive, dominating force.

1. Don't Underestimate the X-Factor

Tuck
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Don't Underestimate the X-Factor

Tuck
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that can't ever be underestimated is the attitude players bring to a team. In this case, the players Oakland acquired bring a massive chip on their shoulders. All feel disrespected by their former clubs, believe they have more than enough left in the tank to help guide a team to a championship and have something to prove. That attitude can be as deadly as it can be a motivational fuel that can be used to propel a team to great heights.


Around the Web

  • George Kosich

    The truth about the Raiders performance this upcoming year is probably in between being “the worst team in football” and “winning the AFC West.”

    • saito8204

      I truly think they will be a lot better than most people seem to believe. They’ve had a tremendous offseason and have brought in a lot of gamers.

  • Raiderhays

    If our defense could have held a few times last year we would’ve been at least 8-8. I don’t agree with maligning McGloin though. He averaged 24 points a game when starting and was number five in the league for passes of 20+ yards in games he started.