The 2016 NFL season was full of surprising teams. One of the most surprising teams of all where the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders finished with a very surprising 12 wins against just 4 losses. This record ended up being good enough for the team to finish in second place in their division and qualify for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the team ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Kansas City Chiefs.
While the Raiders ended up losing, there is a lot of reason for optimism in Oakland. While the team only has one or two more years in the city before moving on to Las Vegas, there is a good chance that they could advance much further in the coming years. Much of the success of the team is due to the team’s ability to draft. In the past few drafts alone, the Raiders have been very successful in finding top talent (https://justblogbaby.com/2017/07/18/oakland-raiders-unearthed-gems-recent-years/).
The 2016 Raiders had seven Pro Bowl players and three All-Pro players. The most dominant player on the team last year was Khalil Mack, who plays a hybrid position of both linebacker and defensive line. Since the day he arrived in Oakland, Mack has continued to live up to the hype that came with his draft position. Mack was selected fifth overall after being a star at the University of Buffalo.
While Mack was easy to predict for many experts, some of their other stars were harder to figure out. The team’s offense is led by quarterback Derek Carr. Carr was picked in the early part of the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. While he was very successful in college, many were concerned that he was too similar to his brother David Carr, who is widely considered an NFL bust. The Raiders saw through that concern and have been awarded by Carr’s talent.
Coming into the 2016 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders were considered by many NFL experts to be one of the teams in the league with the most potential for improvement. While they fell short of team goals last year, the Raiders are led by a number of young stars including quarterback Derek Carr, receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and linebacker Khalil Mack. According to a recent news article (http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/Five-Questions-Answered-In-The-Oakland-Raiders-Win-Over-The-San-Diego-Chargers/e5445694-b1d8-47db-bdb4-01ae0dca6795), the first five weeks of the NFL season have shown just how good the Raiders can end up being.
On Sunday, the Raiders were very dominant offensively and ended up beating division rival San Diego Chargers by a score of 34 to 31. This win helped the Raiders to improve their record to an impressive score of 4 wins and 1 loss. The most impressive feat for the Raiders is that they were once again led by their young stars. Derek Carr is considered by many to be a top-tier quarterback and he as able to throw two touchdown passes, one of which went to Amari Cooper.
Thanks to the win, the Raiders now look like they are ready to take over the Denver Broncos as the top team in the division. The Broncos looked great to start the season, but struggling to play without their starting quarterback, Trevor Simien. In his replacement, Paxton Lynch was not able to get control of the offense and the Broncos lost at home to the Atlanta Falcons.
After yesterday’s win and the Bronco’s loss, the Raiders are now tied for first place in the division and actually own the tiebreaker over the Broncos. If the season was to end today, the Raiders would actually own the top seed in the AFC Playoffs. While the Raiders have gotten off to a very good start, they doe have a number of tough contests ahead of them. The team will still have to play the Broncos twice and need to continue to play well in order to win the division and make the playoffs.