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2011 Oakland Raiders Odds | Preview | Picks

2011 Oakland Raiders Team Preview | NFL Predictions

If the Oakland Raiders can figure out how to win outside their own division, they will inch closer to finally returning to the playoffs.

2011 Oakland Raiders Team Preview/Predictions
2010 Record: 8-8
ATS Record: 9-7

After beating Kansas City 31-10 in their regular-season finale, the Raiders became the only team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to go unbeaten in their division and still not make the playoffs.

The short-handed Raiders, who finished the season 8-8, produced a division record of 6-0.

Similar to longtime division rival Kansas City, Oakland can run the football. The Raiders ranked second in rushing in 2010, at 155.9 yards per contest. Darren McFadden was finally able to show all the talent he has; he was healthy over the course of a full season for the first time in his professional career.

The Raiders have begun to benefit from good trades and draft picks; such developments have been long-awaited near the San Francisco Bay, given the fact that they’ve largely eluded this once-proud franchise for a long period of time. The Raiders started to roll in some good draft picks in 2010.

This draft class included Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, and defensive end Lamarr Houston. The transaction with the New England Patriot to acquire Richard Seymour is also paying dividends for Oakland.

The hiring of Tom Cable as head coach was questionable at best when it was announced, but at the end of the year very few people were questioning the move.

Cable did squeeze every ounce of production out of his 2010 team, and he has definitely made progress in his attempt to move the Raiders closer to the playoffs.

Hue Jackson, who is now taking over for Cable, was a large part of that success, but from an outsider’s perspective, the new change in the coaching staff is a very questionable one at best.

The problem with the Raiders is that at the moment when it seems they are heading in the right direction to return to their glory days, they form a laundry list of free agents who leave the Black Hole, probably because the organization has become so manifestly dysfunctional under the oversight of an increasingly frail Al Davis. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

This year’s free agent list is deep in the secondary. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was the most prized free agent in this year’s class, and he promptly left the Bay Area to become a Philadelphia Eagle.

If the Raiders want to reach the next level in the NFL, they need to make stronger bids to resign key players such as Asomugha; if they don’t, they will need to find players who are able to step in and replace lost production.

While it’s great for the NFL (at the box office and on television) to see the Raiders regain a measure of relevance, don’t expect any improvements in 2011. Yes, the Raiders made great strides last season including going 6-0 in the AFC West, but the departures of key players will be too much to overcome.

Moreover, if Oakland is looking to improve, it might want to upgrade at the quarterback position.

Jason Campbell is a decent signal caller – one could do a lot worse, that is true – but he’s not (yet) the kind of field general who can be counted on week after week, and there are still big question marks on the Raiders’ offensive line heading into the season.

2011 Raiders Futures

Super Bowl Odds: +6500
Conference Odds: +3050
AFC West Odds: +345
2011-2012 NFL Regular Season Wins: Over 6.5

2011 Raiders Predictions:

Place they’ll finish in AFC West: 3rd
Place they’ll finish in AFC Conference: 11th

Over/Under Wins Prediction: OVER

With NFL football just a short time away, Cappers Picks Football handicappers have been hard at work putting out the team by team NFL previews for those of us who can’t wait.

Bet on the 2011 SuperBowl winner, plus Conference and Divisional winners.

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About Dave Golokhov AKA Vegas Dave

Dave Golokhov has written for Playboy.com, BETUS Sportsbook, Sportsfanmagazine.com, FOX, Askmen.com, Sports-central, and the FOXSports.com Funhouse.