There are multiple reasons Raiders fans can be excited about the 2019 season.
After a year in which they went 4-12, the Raiders have some exciting additions in wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, right tackle Trent Brown, three first-round picks in defensive end Clelin Ferrell, safety Johnathan Abram and running back Josh Jacobs and veteran defenders such as safety/nickel cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Quarterback Derek Carr also is healthy and coming off a strong second half of last season, with a better grasp of the Jon Gruden offense. And, Gruden himself has more of the team he wants after a busy offseason working with new general manager Mike Mayock.
Yet with the season-opener just days away in Monday night’s matchup with the Denver Broncos, the Raiders are a mystery team, with no one actually having a grasp on how well – or how bad – this team will be in Gruden’s second year.
Recently, ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez wrote that Oakland could be as good as 9-7 or as bad as 4-12.
Analyst John Breech of CBS Sports predicted the Raiders for 4-12, however, and wrote that Oakland will “finish with the worst record in the NFL.”
That assessment was echoed by the analytic website Pro Football Focus this week, when in its power ranking of all 32 teams entering the NFL season, it placed Oakland at No. 32, writing that the Raiders may be a team moving in the right direction, but could still be among the lowest tier of NFL teams.
Despite the talent influx, the Raiders remain flawed.
Wrote PFF: “Last year’s Raiders ranked second-to-last in defensive grade (62.4), and the offensive grade wasn’t a whole lot better at 25th (69.1). The addition of Antonio Brown doesn’t move the needle much for our power ranking, though he could help Derek Carr stretch the field. The Raiders might be at the nadir of their rebuild, but there’s still likely a ways to go.”
Monday’s season opener against the visiting Broncos is set to kick off at 7:20 p.m. (PDT).