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2014 Oakland Raiders Odds | Season Preview | NFL Predictions

2014 Raiders NFL Handicapping

Offseason Additions Not Enough To Pull Raiders Out Of AFC West Basement

The Oakland Raiders navigated through the last two cap-strapped seasons averaging four wins with the hope that they could lay the foundation for future success.

2014 Oakland Raiders Team Preview/Predictions

  • 2013 Record: 4-12
  • ATS Record: 8-8

2014 Raiders Futures

  • Super Bowl Odds: +15000
  • Conference Odds: +8000
  • AFC West Odds: +3300
  • 2014 NFL Regular Season Wins: Over 5

General manager Reggie McKenzie finally had money to spend this offseason and while an expanded salary cap hurt when it came to trying to land free agents he still managed a fairly impressive haul.

The Raiders added a dozen free agents that are expected to make an immediate impact and combined with an impressive draft the overall talent level is higher than it was a year ago. There is no doubt that Oakland has improved. However, whether or not it’s enough to compete in a deep AFC West division is a completely different question.

Head coach Dennis Allen is tasked with putting all of the pieces together beginning on offense where the Raiders traded for one quarterback and then drafted another.

Matt Schaub set an NFL record last year by throwing at least one interception in four-straight games and finished the season with a 73.0 passer rating but the Raiders still consider him an upgrade over what they had. Schaub will get the first crack at the starting job for Oakland and will be asked not to try and do too much with an emphasis on avoiding turnovers.

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Second-round pick Derek Carr could start at some point as the hopeful future franchise quarterback.

The Raiders hope that Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden can be the dominant running back tandem they need to keep the pressure off their starting quarterback. Jones-Drew averaged just 3.4 yards per carry a year ago in Jacksonville and McFadden has always had trouble staying healthy, but the potential is there for this duo to be great.

The offensive line will have four new starters after Oakland lost left tackle Jared Veldheer in free agency and released guard Mike Briskel.

Free agent tackle Donald Penn is expected to replace Veldheer on the left side while Kevin Boothe was signed to take over at left guard next to him. The Raiders drafted another guard in third-round pick Gabe Jackson to battle Austin Howard for the starting spot on the right side.

Offensive line coach Tony Sparano is responsible for making sure the line holds up and his presence alone is reason to believe this group can get the job done. Receivers James Jones and Greg Little were signed to push Rod Streater and Denarius Moore for snaps at wide receiver.

The tight end position lacks punch with Mychal Rivera and David Ausbury but Marcel Reese is a versatile threat that could help out.

Oakland also upgraded a defense that allowed the second-most points in franchise history a year ago. The defensive line will have three new starters after defensive ends Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley were signed along with defensive tackle Antonio Smith in free agency.
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All three players are past their prime and yet all three of them represent upgrades at their position. The biggest addition is rookie linebacker Khalil Mack, who was taken with the fifth-overall pick. Mack is an explosive pass-rusher that can do everything and he will be moved all over the field in order to capitalize on his talent and versatility.

Mack is slotted at the weak side spot with second-year pro Sio Moore set to start on the strong side and Nick Roach back at middle linebacker after leading the team with 112 tackles and 5.5 sacks last season.

The Raiders also upgraded the secondary with free-agent cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers. Brown is expected to start opposite last year’s first round pick DJ Hayden with Rogers at the nickel spot.

Tyvon Branch is back at strong safety after missing most of last year with a broken leg while veteran Charles Woodson returns for one more season at free safety as the veteran presence the team needs to quarterback the defense and make sure that all of the new additions are where they should be on the field.

There is no denying that this Oakland roster is more talented now than it was a year ago, but there are still holes at important positions and this team isn’t good enough to compete in the AFC’s best division.

It doesn’t help that on top of a tough division slate the Raiders also have to play New England, Seattle, and San Francisco. The offseason additions will make Oakland a more competitive team in 2014 but it’s unrealistic to think this team will win more than five games.

2014 Raiders Predictions

  • Place they’ll finish in AFC West: 4th
  • Place they’ll finish in AFC Conference: 13th
  • Over/Under Wins Prediction: UNDER

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