The Oakland Raiders have surprised many this season with their impressive play. Heading into Week 11, they sit at 6-3 and in control of their own destiny in the AFC West.
With Derek Carr leading the way at quarterback and Khalil Mack anchoring the defense, the Raiders are poised to make a run at the Super Bowl this year.
Oakland has been one of the league’s most balanced teams this year, ranking in the top 10 in both offense and defense. Carr has been playing lights out, and Mack has continued his dominance by recording 10 sacks and two interceptions thus far.
If they can continue to play well down the stretch, the Raiders have a good chance of making it to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002.
The Oakland Raiders could struggle to meet the high expectations set for them in Las Vegas. The team overhauled their roster this offseason, but there are still major question marks surrounding them.
The offense is headlined by quarterback Derek Carr and running back Marshawn Lynch. But Lynch is coming off of an injury-plagued 2017 season, and there are question marks about how he will perform at age 32. The offensive line is also unproven, which could lead to problems for Carr.
The defense is led by linebacker Khalil Mack and defensive end Arden Key. But Mack is in the final year of his contract, and it is unclear whether the team will be able to keep him. The secondary is also a concern, as they lack proven players outside of cornerback Gareon Conley.
The Raiders are currently listed as +650 favorites to win Super Bowl LIII, but there is a good chance that they will fall short of those expectations.
In the early months of 2016, NFL owners voted in favor of the Raiders’ proposal to move from Oakland to Las Vegas. $750 million in public money would be put towards a new stadium in Sin City, and the team would become the first professional sports franchise in that city. The Raiders are expected to relocate in 2020.
Questions still abound surrounding this move, however. First and foremost among them is how a team with such a wide fan base will make the transition to a market where few people have any real connection to the team or the sport. In addition, there is some concern about how a city built on gambling will deal with the NFL’s strict rules against gambling on games.
Despite these questions, momentum continues to build for the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. The Nevada legislature recently passed a bill that would put an extra 0.88% tax on hotel rooms in order to help pay for the new stadium, and there is excitement among casino moguls about finally having an NFL team as a partner. The Raiders are expected to play at least one preseason game per year in Las Vegas while their new stadium is being built, and they hope to have it ready by 2020.
After a disappointing 2016-2017 season in which the Raiders finished with a 12-4 record but lost in the first round of the playoffs, the team is looking to rebound this year. Much of their success will hinge on the play of quarterback Derek Carr, who is coming off an injury-marred season.
The Raiders’ offense should be potent again this year, with Carr throwing to wide receivers Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, as well as tight end Jared Cook. The team also has a talented backfield, led by running back Marshawn Lynch.
On defense, the Raiders have a number of star players, including linebackers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin and cornerback Gareon Conley. The team’s defense was one of its weak spots last year, so they will need to improve if they want to make it deep into the playoffs.
The Raiders start their season on September 10th against the Tennessee Titans.
When the Raiders announced that they were moving to Las Vegas, there were a lot of skeptics. How would a team that had struggled to win in Oakland be able to thrive in the desert?
But so far, the move has been a smashing success. The Raiders are 6-2 and have one of the best offenses in the NFL. Derek Carr has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns, and Amari Cooper is one of the most dangerous receivers in the league.
The biggest reason for the Raiders’ success is their aggressive offense. Head coach Jack Del Rio has encouraged his players to take risks, and it’s paid off big time. Carr is often willing to throw into tight windows, and his receivers are fearless going up for the ball.
It’s also helped that the team has been relatively healthy this year. Other than rookie safety Karl Joseph, who was lost for the season with a knee injury, the Raiders have avoided any major injuries. That’s allowed them to keep their starting lineup intact and continue to play at a high level.
The only downside to the Raiders’ season has been their defense. They’ve given up more than 26 points per game, which is near the bottom of the league. But if they can shore up their defense in the second half of the season, they have a good chance of winning the division and making it to playoffs.
So far, it looks like Las Vegas was a great move for the Raiders. The city has embraced them with open arms, and they’re playing some of their best football ever. If they can continue this momentum heading into next year, they could be one of the top teams in the NFL.