As this is my first post here, I’d like to pontificate on how qualified (or unqualified) I am to give any kind of vision of who the Raiders are this year. But alas, I will settle for giving unqualified predictions on what the next 7 games will look like for the Silver and Black.
Unqualified would definitely fit the description of most of these upcoming predictions, however, there may be some method here if you can bear it.
I am a native of the Bay but have been relocated for 20 years; I remain a huge fan of Bay Area sports even though my relationship with the Raiders has been grudging at times. At the very least I can offer an unbiased look at what this up-and-coming team will be looking at for their forthcoming push towards the playoffs in 2016.
Week 11 RAIDERS @ TEXANS
A Brock Osweiler QB led team does nothing for me as he (or more aptly Bill O’Brien) continue to under-utilize the talents of WR DeAndre Hopkins and “superback” Lamar Miller. Oakland should continue their road dominance this year (neutral site Mexico City) especially coming off of a bye week. Houston should be overwhelmed by the stellar Raider offense and their inability to counterpunch, it won’t be a close game. Del Rio and the Raiders will be able to showcase their talents in primetime on Monday night en el gran pais de Mexico.
Week 12 PANTHERS @ RAIDERS
This is a tricky home game for the Raiders because of the desperation of the Panthers who have been slowly losing their grip all year for any playoff hopes. Even though it seems the Panthers defense has been lousy this season (compared to the shutdown DEF last year), their last 3 games have been good at limiting points scored against. At 4-6 coming into Oakland, the Panthers will be clawing for the playoffs even though their remaining schedule is brutal. The Raiders maligned defense will have their hands full even if the Panthers have an average offensive effort. The Silver and Black will need to force some turnovers to offset the defensive pressure Carolina brings every game. It will be close but desperation wins out in my book.
Week 13 BILLS @ RAIDERS
The bombastic Buffalo Bills will be coming to town with more baggage than usual and definitely less swagger than when there were early season mentions of Coach Ryan and his brother being fired; they righted their ship after being 0-2 only to have the house of cards falling again in the last 3 games. Most likely coming in at 5-6 to this game, Buffalo will have issues in all 3 phases due to the relentless injury bug. I see the Raiders offense again being a handful for a struggling team on the road like the Bills. If McCoy is at full speed for the Bills, it could be a struggle for Oakland otherwise they cruise to an easy home win.
Week 14 RAIDERS @ CHIEFS
Raise your hand if you enjoy traveling to Kansas City? What about on a week where you are exhausted from playing on Sunday afternoon and your game is on Thursday night? I’d probably pass too. Even though the hated Chiefs look beat down and inept at times this year they have been playing that boring fundamental, no turnover football that we all hate and they have been hitting their stride lately. Both of these teams, as of the date of this post, are in the top 5 in positive turnover ratios in the NFL. The Raiders will at least enjoy the fact that Kansas City will be travelling back from a tough game in Atlanta this short week. I know the Raiders have enough offense to put pressure on the Chiefs with Murray/Cooper/Crabtree but the Chiefs linebacking corps may be the most formidable in the NFL with Houston/Hali. A coin toss chance always favors the home team in a road game like this.
Week 15 RAIDERS @ CHARGERS
Knowing a few things about the Chargers because of where I live doesn’t help me see the Chargers as anything other than the unluckiest franchise in sports history. There isn’t much to convince me they can win this game even with home field advantage. This Chargers offense is maximizing what Rivers and Gordon offer but with an ever shortening list of role players and a QB throwing ill advised passes out of desperation all adds up to San Diego making mistakes the Raiders will capitalize on. Del Rio can expect the Oakland defense to be tested only when the game gets out of hand.
Week 16 COLTS @ RAIDERS
Andrew Luck brings a team to town in week 16 who may still be struggling for identity; especially outside of their cushy confines of Lucas Oil Stadium. Christmas miracles may need to take place for the Colts to assert themselves and still compete for a playoff spot. Even though the desperation factor was mentioned earlier as a motivation to upset the Raiders at home, I cannot give the same accordance to this game; Oakland may have a similar motivation for home playoff seeding here.
Week 17 RAIDERS AT BRONCOS
Some stout defense has been played in the AFC West for the 2016 season and it really has been Denver’s role to lose as a leader of that milieu with their dominant Super Bowl performance in Santa Clara last season. San Diego, Oakland, and especially Kansas City (one could make the argument KC is THE trendsetter in defensive output) round out the best defensive division in the NFL. This late in the season there may be factors that prove otherwise but the Broncos defense may still be the toughest squad at home—because of their ridiculous altitude and raucous fans. This matchup will probably decide whether one of these teams are a wild card contender or an AFC West victor leading into the playoffs. I’m sure select individuals in the Raiders organizational / management brass see this game as a possible upcoming problem—and for good reason. Its arguably the toughest home field advantage in the NFL. I see the Raiders unfortunately not being able to take this one.
Final Record: 11-5
Once again, this is one man’s opinion so let me know how wrong I am week by week.
Thanks for reading.
Written by: Silver and Black Lives Matter
Edited by: Kenny Stapler