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NFL Oakland Raiders

10 Bold Predictions for Oakland Raiders 2014 Season

10 Bold Predictions for the Coming Season

at O.co Coliseum on August 28, 2014 in Oakland, California.
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With the start of the 2014 NFL season upon us, hope abounds from all corners of the land. Everybody – well, except perhaps Cleveland Browns fans – think their team has a shot at the ultimate prize. Some teams that have been dominant will continue to be so. Others will taper off. And some teams will come out of nowhere and surprise everybody. The Oakland Raiders may be one of those teams.

Here then are 10 bold predictions for the coming season.

10. Darren McFadden Will Not Miss a Game Due To Injury

McFadden
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10. Darren McFadden Will Not Miss a Game Due To Injury

McFadden
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Seems like I'm setting the bar sort of low with this one, but given McFadden's track record with injuries, being able to play a full 16-game season would be a big step. Having Maurice Jones-Drew and Latavius Murray in the stable of backs will help McFadden stay fresh, healthy and be very productive this season. Given his home run potential every time he touches the ball, Oakland wants him to stay on the field.

9. Maurice Jones-Drew Will Lead the Team in Rushing

Jones-Drew
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

9. Maurice Jones-Drew Will Lead the Team in Rushing

Jones-Drew
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The 1B in Oakland's backfield to McFadden's 1A, Jones-Drew is looking to rebound from a couple of down seasons. Injuries have slowed him down over the last couple of years, but he is back and healthy again for the first time in a while. He's flashed some of that speed and explosiveness in the preseason and looks to be on track to have a solid enough season that he's going to lead the Raiders in rushing yards.

8. Oakland Raiders Will Have a Top-5 Rushing Offense

Running Game
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

8. Oakland Raiders Will Have a Top-5 Rushing Offense

Running Game
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With McFadden and Jones-Drew leading the charge – and Latavius Murray stepping in as well – the Raiders' running game looks lethal. The key, of course, will be their ability to stay healthy, as well as the offensive line becoming a dominant unit. We saw the potential in the preseason finale against Seattle. If they can continue that sort of play, the Raiders' ground game is going to be brutal in 2014.

7. Oakland Raiders Will Have a Top-10 Defense

Defense
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

7. Oakland Raiders Will Have a Top-10 Defense

Defense
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It sounds preposterous to say, given the ease with which offenses seemed to move against them in the preseason. But DC Jason Tarver ran a very vanilla defense, not showing a lot of the exotic schemes he's known for. With young players like Neiko Thorpe, TJ Carrie, Chimdi Chekwa, Sio Moore and Khalil Mack running his system, the Raiders' defense has the chance to be dominant this year.

6. Khalil Mack Will Win Defensive Rookie of the Year

Mack
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

6. Khalil Mack Will Win Defensive Rookie of the Year

Mack
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney has had a good preseason while Mack has gotten off to a slow start. But game by game Mack has improved his play, recording his first sack against the Lions, and seeming to be all over the place against Green Bay and Seattle. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with once the regular season gets rolling and will show everybody who passed on him that they made a big mistake.

5. Derek Carr Will Win Offensive Rookie of the Year

Carr
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

5. Derek Carr Will Win Offensive Rookie of the Year

Carr
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the QB situation is settled and the Raiders are moving into the future with Derek Carr under center, he has the chance to lead this offense to heights not seen in Oakland for a very long time. He lit up Seattle's vaunted Legion of Boom for two touchdowns and finished his night with four TDs on four possessions, giving us a glimpse of how good he can be against a very good defense. It might be good enough to nab Rookie of the Year honors.

4. Rod Streater Will Be 1,000-Yard Receiver

Streater
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Rod Streater Will Be 1,000-Yard Receiver

Streater
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's been quite a while – think Randy Moss nearly a decade ago – since the Raiders had a receiver go for 1,000 yards in a season. But after his breakout season in 2013, former UDFA Rod Streater looks posed to break that drought. With a dynamic QB under center and being the Raiders' No. 1 receiver, Streater is going to get a lot of balls thrown his way, and he will turn them into a lot of yards.

3. Oakland Will Beat the Denver Broncos

Broncos
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. Oakland Will Beat the Denver Broncos

Broncos
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For Raiders fans, it seems like it's been forever since they've been able to vanquish their biggest division rivals, the Denver Broncos. On paper, they still appear to be mismatched against the Broncos which are loaded with offensive and defensive weapons, but never count the Raiders out against a division rival. And with all of their own new weapons, expect a pitched battle and the Raiders to finally get over the hump and beat Denver.

2. Khalil Mack Will Have Double-Digit Sacks

Mack Sack
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

2. Khalil Mack Will Have Double-Digit Sacks

Mack Sack
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

With a ferocious defensive line in Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith, Pat Sims and LaMarr Woodley, offensive lines are going to have their hands full already. This will free up Mack to get after the passer. Expect DC Tarver to utilize Mack's elite athleticism and speed to find ways to get him after the quarterback. The result is going to be a whole lot of sacks for the rookie.

1. Oakland Raiders Will Make the Postseason

Playoffs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Oakland Raiders Will Make the Postseason

Playoffs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Most people laughed heartily when LaMarr Woodley said during the offseason that the Raiders were capable of making a run to the playoffs. Based on how we saw the team perform against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks, it's hard to laugh them off anymore. Or at least it should be. If they can maximize their talent and the experience to the utmost, the Raiders will be able secure their first playoff berth since 2002 -- and they will.