The Oakland Raiders are coming off their worst season over the last four years, recording just four wins and 12 losses in 2018. Jon Gruden returned to Oakland after 16 years, signing a ten-year contract worth $100 million, but the Raiders obviously wanted to tank in his first season back at the helm.
They won just one game in the first nine outings of the season that looked like a complete disaster at that moment. However, the Raiders put on a fight in the last seven weeks, recording three wins in that span including a huge 24-21 victory to their arch-rivals Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders won only one clash away from home, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 in Week 11.
Also, the Raiders traded Khalil Mack to Chicago and Amari Cooper to Dallas in exchange for 2019 and 2020 first round draft picks deciding to completely rebuild the team. The franchise is in limbo, waiting to make a move to Las Vegas in 2020, so the next season will be their last in the Bay Area.
Super Bowl Odds: +6600
Odds to Win the AFC: +3300
Odds to Win the AFC West: +1200
Season Win Total: 5.5
(lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
|7||@ Green Bay||+8.5||.20|
|10||LA Chargers (TNF)||+4||.34|
|12||@ NY Jets||+3||.41|
|13||@ Kansas City||+13||.11|
|16||@ LA Chargers||+9||.19|
Total Expected Wins: 5.67
It was a hot spring in Oakland with Antonio Brown coming to town. Brown desperately wanted to leave Pittsburgh, so the Raiders sent a 2019 third-round and fifth-round pick in exchange for one of the best wide receivers in the league. Last year, Brown tallied 104 receptions for 1297 yards and career-high 15 touchdowns, and the Raiders hope he’ll continue with a strong performance in 2019.
The Raiders also signed WR Tyrell Williams to a four-year contract worth $44 million. Williams spent four years with the Chargers and recorded 41 catches for 653 yards and five touchdowns last season. LB Brandon Marshall came from Denver to fortify the Raiders’ defense, while safety Lamarcus Joyner arrived from the Los Angeles Rams. Also, Oakland lost the legendary running back Marshawn Lynch who decided to retire.
The Raiders had three first-round picks at the 2019 Draft and nine picks in the total, so they could afford to strengthen all areas of their team. With the 4th overall pick, the Raiders drafted DE Clelin Ferrell from Clemson. Ferrell played 15 games last season to record 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss, and he was one of the most important players in the Tigers’ championship run.
Running back Josh Jacobs was selected as a 24th overall pick, while the Raiders took safety Johnathan Abram with the 27th overall pick. Jacobs spent three years at Alabama, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, while he had 11 touchdowns in 15 outings last season. He should get plenty of playing time after Marshawn Lynch’s retirement.
Johnathan Abram is coming from Mississippi State where he recorded 53 tackles and a couple of interceptions last year, and he should be a nice addition to the Raiders’ secondary. Oakland also drafted CB Trayvon Mullen from Clemson with a second-round 8th pick, and the Raiders apparently wanted to add players with the winning mentality.
They picked one more player from Clemson, choosing WR Hunter Renfrow in the fifth round. DE Maxx Crosby, CB Isaiah Johnson, and TE Foster Moreau were all selected in the fourth round, while DE Quinton Bell was selected with a seventh-round 16th pick.
The Raiders will enter the sixth straight season with Derek Carr under center. There were a lot of gossips about Carr’s future, but Jon Gruden decided to stick with a three-time Pro Bowl QB. Carr threw for 4049 yards, 19 touchdowns, and ten interceptions last season, surpassing a 4000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Also, Carr posted his career-high with 68.9% of passes completed, so the Raiders hope he’ll continue to improve in 2019.
However, the offensive line will be a crucial factor for the Raiders. Carr suffered whopping 51 sacks last season, so his guards will have to do a much better job this year if they want to allow Carr to make a connection with Antonio Brown. The Raiders will spend a ton of money on Brown, but it won’t mean a thing if the offensive line fails to perform at a high level.
Doug Martin will be the first option in the backfield, and the former Buccaneers’ RB had 172 carries for 723 yards and four touchdowns in his first season in Oakland. The Raiders will need a balanced offense, and Martin will play an important role. Last year, the Raiders were averaging 101.8 rushing yards per contest (25th in the league), and they should improve in Doug’s second year with the team.
The Raiders’ defense was a big issue in 2018, allowing 29.2 points per game (32nd in the league) on 381.4 total yards (26th). Also, their run defense was the third-worst in the league, surrendering 140.6 yards per contest. Therefore, the Raiders used draft picks mostly to strengthen their defense, but it’s hard to say what can we expect this season. There will be a lot of inexperienced players, so the defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will have a difficult job.
LB Tahir Whitehead and safety Lamarcus Joyner should be key players in this Raiders’ defense. Whitehead had 126 tackles last season, while Joyner played an important role for the Rams, starting in 15 games. Still, the front four could be a problem once again, so rookies Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby will have to make an immediate impact. You can expect to see a lot of defensive issues, especially at the start of the season until all those new players get along.
Notes & Nuggets
The Raiders will have a tall task in the first eight weeks, hosting Kansas City, Chicago, and Denver along with four heavy trips to Houston, Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Minnesota. They should grab some wins in the second half of the season when the Raiders host Detroit, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville. If the Raiders make a couple of upsets in their first seven games, we could see an interesting finish of the season.
Although the Raiders acquired Antonio Brown, I don’t expect them to reach the postseason or even stay in the playoff picture late in the season. There are plenty of problems to be solved on both sides of the ball, and the Raiders’ offensive line could be a nightmare once more. Also, I don’t think their defense will be at a high level with all rookies on the roster.
I expect the Raiders to win five or six games in 2019, so betting on their season total wins seems like a tricky job. On the other hand, I think the Raiders will score a lot of points and allow even more, so keep your eyes on them if you like betting on the totals.