The Oakland Raiders are coming off a 3-13 campaign in 2014, marking the 3rd straight year that they have won 4 or fewer games and 12th consecutive season in which they failed to post a winning record. Being that bad for that long is no easy task in today’s NFL, where teams can go from the bottom of the league to the playoffs in just one season.

During the Raiders run of ineptitude there have been through 8 different head coaches fail to get this franchise back on it’s feet. Oakland will once again be turning the page with a new head coach. Jack Del Rio, who spent the last 3 years as the defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos and previous 9 years as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Del Rio takes over a roster with a lot of talented young players who appear poised to get the Raiders back to being a competitive force in the AFC West, but it’s unclear if that will be 2015 or later down the road.

Last Season
AFC West
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
4th
3-13
8-8
4-4
4-4
10-6
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
32nd
21st
-15
15.8
28.3
2015 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Amari Cooper (WR), Mario Edwards Jr. (DT), Clive Walford (TE), Jon Feliciano (OG), Ben Heeney (ILB), Neiron Ball (OLB), Max Valles (OLB), Anthony Morris (OL), Andre Debose (WR), Dexter McDonald (CB)
Additions
Rodney Hudson (C), Michael Crabtree (WR), Curtis Lofton (ILB), Dan Williams (DT), Malcolm Smith (OLB), Roy Helu (RB), Nate Allen (SS), Trent Richardson (RB), J’Marcus Webb (OT), Christian Ponder (QB), James Dockery (DB), Lee Smith (TE)
Losses
Tyvon Branch (SS), Denarius Moore (WR), Darren McFadden (RB), Stefen Wisniewski (C), LaMarr Woodley (DE), Antonio Smith (DE), Nick Roach (MLB), Carlos Rogers (CB), Pat Sims (DT), Matt Schaub (QB), Vincent Brown (WR), Tarell Brown (CB), Usama Young (SS), David Ausberry (TE)
2015 Schedule & Odds
Week Opponent Spread Win Chance
1 Bengals +3.5 0.36
2 Ravens +5 0.32
3 @ Browns +4.5 0.33
4 @ Bears +6 0.29
5 Broncos +6.5 0.28
6 BYE
7 @ Chargers +8 0.21
8 Jets PK 0.50
9 @ Steelers +9.5 0.18
10 Vikings +1.5 0.47
11 @ Lions +8.5 0.20
12 @ Titans +2 0.47
13 Chiefs +3.5 0.36
14 @ Broncos +10.5 0.14
15 Packers +7 0.25
16 Chargers +3.5 0.36
17 @ Chiefs +7.5 0.22
Estimated Wins: 4.94
Roster Breakdown

If Oakland is going to take that next step in 2015, they are going to have to get a lot more out of their offense than last year’s poor showing. The Raiders were dead last in total offense (282.2 ypg) and 31st in scoring (15.8 ppg). A big part of their struggles came from the fact that they were starting rookie 2nd round pick Derek Carr at quarterback, though the Fresno State signal caller showed a lot of promise for getting thrown into the fire on a bad team.

Carr finished his rookie campaign with 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, but posted a horrible 5.5 yards/completion. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson deserved a lot of credit for Carr’s strong rookie season. Unfortunately for Carr, Olson wasn’t retained and he will be forced to learn a new offense under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. That’s a big concern when it comes to the expected improvements from year 1 to year 2.

On the bright side, Musgrave comes over from the Philadelphia Eagles and will be installing a similar up-tempo offense that Carr ran in college. The Raiders also brought in a big time weapon for him to work with, using the 5th overall pick on Alabama wide out Amari Cooper, who figures to quickly emerge as the No. 1 option.

Oakland also added in San Francisco 49ers former No. 1 wide out Michael Crabtree in free agency, though he did lose one of his favorite targets from last year in James Jones. Joining Cooper and Crabtree in the receiving corps will be Andre Holmes and promising young tight end Mychal Rivera. They also used a 3rd round pick on Miami (FL) tight end Clive Walford.

The running game was non-existent in 2014, as Oakland averaged the fewest yards of any team in the league on the ground at 77.5 ypg. The days of Darren McFadden are over, as he’s now a member of the Dallas Cowboys. It’s not a big loss, as rookie Latavius Murray emerged as the starter late in the year. The team added in veterans Trent Richardson and Roy Helu Jr to the mix, plus get back talented fullback Marcel Reece.

The Raiders also landed prized free agent center Rodney Hudson away from division rival Kansas City. Hudson proved to be a big addition, as they lost starter Stefen Wisniewski in free agency. Hudson will join a unit that features a strong left side with tackle Donald Penn and guard Gabe Jackson, but the right side is a concern going into the year.

Not only does Oakland need to get better offensively, but the defense has plenty of room to improve as well. Oakland was dead last in scoring defense (28.2 ppg) and 21st in total defense (357.6 ypg). This is where Del Rio figures to make his biggest impact, as he’s consistently got the most out of his stop units, whether it be as a head coach or coordinator.

Del Rio has to be excited about the opportunity to work with a talent like outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who quietly had a dominant rookie season in 2014. Mack finished 4th on the team with 59 tackles and 2nd with 4 sacks, while leading the way with an impressive 13 tackles for loss. Oakland has another talented young outside linebacker in Sio Moore and have added in veteran Curtis Lofton to take over in the middle. They also brought in former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith and used two 5th round picks on Kansas’ Ben Heeney and Florida’s Neiron Ball.

Veteran Justin Tuck will be the leader up front on the defensive line, but the Raiders are hoping a couple of new faces can make a big impact in 2015. Oakland brought in veteran defensive tackle Dan Williams to solidify the middle and drafted Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards Jr in the 2nd round.

The secondary is arguably the biggest concern, as there’s not a ton of talent in the back end, which is a major cause for concern given the Raiders don’t put a lot pressure on the quarterback (22 sacks in 2014, T-30th). The unquestioned leader of the secondary is veteran Charles Woodson, who led the team with 112 tackles and 4 interceptions. The only problem is Woodson turns 39 in October and is at the point where he could become a non-factor at any moment. Starting next to Woodson will be Philadelphia Eagles castoff Nate Allen, while D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie are expected to start at corner. The Raiders desperately need Hayden to play up to his potential, as the former 1st round pick has been a bust to this point.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC
to Win Super Bowl L
4.5
110 to 1
290 to 1
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes
Projections

Oakland likely isn’t going to be a team that threats for a playoff spot in the AFC, but I do think that this is one of the more underrated teams going into 2015. With that said, I would have been a lot higher on this team had Carr not been forced to learn a new offense. I think he’s got a chance to be a long-time starter and the addition of Cooper should help speed up the process. I also like the addition of Del Rio and the positive impact he should have on the defense.

If you are looking for value strictly on a over/under win total wager, I think the Raiders OVER 4.5 is well worth the risk. Oakland has the potential to flirt with .500, but simply need to win 5 games to eclipse the mark. I have them going 6-10, a full 1.5 games clear of the total. Keep in mind they won 3 games last year, despite starting the season 0-10.

AFC West Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
4th
2-4
6-10
OVER 4.5
Raiders 10-Year Recap
Year W L Playoffs Coach Win Total
2014 3 13 Allen/Sparano 5
2013 4 12 Allen 5.5
2012 4 12 Allen 7
2011 8 8 Jackson 6.5
2010 8 8 Cable 6
2009 5 11 Cable 6
2008 5 11 Kiffin/Cable 6
2007 4 12 Kiffin 5
2006 2 14 Shell 6.5
2005 4 12 Turner 7.5

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith
SilverAndBlackPride.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – This year I take the over. Six wins is reasonable but I think seven more likely. Four would be a total disaster. Rodney Hudson will make a huge difference in the run game. Also now Derek Carr has two dependable WR instead of none. I also feel optimistic about new coaching staff. Camp reports re: effort and intensity positive compared to recent years.

Marcus Krause

Marcus Krause
SilverAndBlackPride.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – I would absolutely take the over on the Raiders. The logic is pretty simple, even Dennis Allen got 4 wins two years in a row and Jack Del Rio is a better coach with a better team. Derek Carr also continues to progress as a leader and now he has several new weapons in 1st round pick WR Amari Cooper, 3rd round pick TE Clive Walford, and free agent acquisition WR Michael Crabtree. Even more importantly, RB Latavius Murray shows promise in providing the productive run game that is required to keep Oakland from being too one dimensional on offense. The Raiders questionable secondary makes them unlikely to break their streak of non-winning seasons that started in 2003 but I would still take the over on a 4.5 win spread for the 2015 season.

Rory Anderson

Rory Anderson
JustBlogBaby.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – The upgrade in creativity from Olson to Musgrave will be a significant boost for the offense. Combine that with the additions of Cooper and Crabtree, and the additions to the defensive front 7, the Raiders have tons of upside. The Raiders play the Browns, Bears, and Titans all beatable and regardless of record they always play the Chiefs and Chargers tight. If they can sneak out a win against the Jets, Lions, Vikings, Bengals or another perennial 9-7 team then they are in a great spot to beat the 4.5 mark.

Evan Ball

Evan Ball
JustBlogBaby.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – I’m going with the OVER on 4.5 wins for the Raiders, though just barely. Derek Carr got a massive upgrade on his targets with Crabtree and Cooper. And new coordinator Bill Musgrave should mix things up a bit from a severely restrained 2014 Raiders offense. Despite persisting concerns with a weak run game, expect to see the Raiders offense be far more explosive than in recent years. The other side of the ball can be summed up in four words: Del Rio Knows Defense. Major free agent upgrades, a scheme change to better utilize player skill-sets, and the continuing rise of Khalil Mack will be the hallmarks of a much more cohesive, punishing Raiders defense under the new head coach. Titans, Browns, and Jets are the games Oakland should win. But they also might steal games against the Bears, Chiefs, Lions, and Chargers.

James Arcellana

James Arcellana
BlackHoleBanter.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – For the first time in a long time, the Raiders have two young studs they can build the team around. Derek Carr and Khalil Mack are big reasons why this Raiders team should make a jump of at least two to three wins this season. They may only be an eight win team at most, but they are a five to six win team at the least.

Jay Levy

Jay Levy
RaiderNationTimes.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – I think you have to take the OVER. Easy day and likely seven, eight, or nine wins depending on how the team gels and a lack of major injuries. This year’s team has better offensive skill players, a solid running game, and a quality defensive front seven. The secondary might be young but they are capable. The other AFC West teams have regressed so the division games should be easier.

Matt Lorscheider

Matt Lorscheider
JustBlogBaby.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – The Raiders will exceed a projected over/under win total of 4.5 games in 2015. The team has dramatically improved in terms of both player talent and coaching staff experience. Meanwhile, the AFC West division overall has stayed flat, with the Broncos in particular losing multiple key players on both sides of the ball. The Raiders also play a very favorable 2015 schedule: only six matchups against playoff teams from last year, including two against the aforementioned Broncos team and one against a Steelers team that has also lost significant talent from a year ago. The Raiders should be able to manage 5 wins against this schedule, and in my opinion could get to the .500 mark this season if key contributors stay healthy.

Asher Mathews

Asher Mathews
TFDSSports.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – I’m definitely taking the over. This is a quarterback league and the Raiders finally have a young, talented quarterback in Derek Carr. The team has worked to build around him, bringing in wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper and a talented center in Rodney Hudson. With second-year standout Khalil Mack playing as a defensive end on the other side of the ball, the Raiders should also be able to get to the other teams’ quarterback more frequently this year as well.

Pete Camarillo

Pete Camarillo
JustBlogBaby.com

OVER 4.5 Wins – Alone, the new additions of receiving targets for second year quarterback Derek Carr should help the team get two more wins. A new coaching staff committed to physical play on both sides of the line, should also make this team better than a year ago. Added, the 2015 team and coaches genuinely want to win and not just compete. That is the biggest attitude change seen from the Oakland Raiders in a long-time.

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