Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND RAIDERS                                                

Head Coach: Dennis Allen

2012 Record: 4-12-0 (3rd in AFC West)

New Players: QB Matt Flynn; S Charles Woodson; RB Rashad Jennings; LB Nick Roach; LB Kevin Burnett; CB Tracy Porter; P Chris Kluwe.

Gone Elsewhere: QB Carson Palmer; DL Tommy Kelly; WR Darrius Heyward-Bey; S Michael Huff; TE Brandon Myers; LB Philip Wheeler; DL Richard Seymour.

Offense: The Raiders will have a new quarterback this season as Matt Flynn comes over from Seattle after being expected to be the starter there last season only to watch rookie sensation Russell Wilson take the team over and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Flynn will be expected to lead the team with Terrelle Pryor backing up. Rookie Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) will hold the clipboard.
Darren McFadden is the top running back after going for 707 yards with two touchdowns in 12 games a
Darren McFadden
year ago. He also caught 42 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown. Rashad Jennings was signed as a free agent in the off-season and will be ready to play should McFadden suffer any injuries this season.
The wide receivers are Denarius Moore (51 receptions for 741 yards and seven touchdowns), Rod Streater (39, 584, three TD) and Juron Criner, who had 16 receptions for 151 yards and one score.
Jacoby Ford is expected to be a starter after missing the entire 2012 season with a foot injury. The tight end spot is up in the air as Richard Gordon, David Ausberry and rookie Nick Kasa (Colorado) are looking to earn the starter's role.
The line is manned by tackles Jared Veldheer and rookie Menelik Watson (Florida State) and guards Tony Bergstrom and Mike Brisiel. The center is Stefen Wisniewski.
Oakland was 18th in total offense last season averaging 344 yards a game. The running game was 28th, getting only 89 yards per game. The passing game had a 4,000-plus yard passer in Carson Palmer (gone to Arizona this season) so last season's eighth ranked passing game is a moot point. The Raiders averaged just 18 points a game in 2012 as they scored 290 points.

Defense: While they employ the 4-3 set on defense, the Raiders will be without main man Richard Seymour up front as he departed for free agency in the off-season. Tommy Kelly also left in the off-season.
Charles Woodson
So it will be Pat Sims and Vance Walker at the tackles with Lamarr Houston (four QB sacks) and Jason Hunter at the ends this season. Backing up are Andre Carter, Jack Crawford and Christo Bilukidi.
The linebackers are Kaluka Maiava in the middle with Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett manning the outside.
The secondary will have veteran safety Charles Woodson returning to the Raiders after spending the past seven seasons in Green Bay. Along with Woodson is Tyvon Branch as the strong safety. The corners will be Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins. Top draft pick D.J. Hayden (Houston) will provide good depth in the secondary.
Oakland gave up a lot of points (443)  last season as only three other teams allowed more scoring. In addition, the Raiders finished 18th overall on defense, giving up 355 yards per game, including 119 on the ground and 236 passing yards per game.

OUTLOOK: With a new quarterback taking over this season, expect some growing pains for the offense as Matt Flynn becomes familiar with the system the team wants to run.
Head Coach Dennis Allen would like to see running back Darren McFadden return to full strength after another season confounded by injuries.
If McFadden can stay on the field, he is one of the better offensive players in the league, but only time will tell this year. The wide receivers are decent and Flynn will have to keep things moving for the offense, which has to do better than 18 points per game.
On the bright side, any time the Raiders cross midfield, they are in field goal range for one of the best in the business with kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who made 91 percent of his field goal attempts last year.
The defense must have a better pass rush after getting just 25 QB sacks a year ago. Likewise, turnovers have to improve as the Raiders had just eleven interceptions and eight fumble recoveries in 2012.
Playing in the AFC West is tough enough with Denver dominating these days while San Diego and Kansas City always play the Raiders tough. So division games will be crucial for the team once again this year. The overall schedule is pretty tough as well, so don't expect too much from the Raiders this season with all the new faces in key spots on both sides of the ball.
A 3-13 finish is likely this year for the Raiders as they simply have too many questions surrounding them in the upcoming season.


Sept. 8- at Indianapolis
Sept. 15- vs. Jacksonville
Sept. 23- at Denver
Sept. 29- vs. Washington
Oct. 6- vs. San Diego
Oct. 13- at Kansas City
Oct. 20- BYE WEEK
Oct. 27- vs. Pittsburgh
Nov. 3- vs. Philadelphia
Nov. 10- at NY Giants
Nov. 17- at Houston
Nov. 24- vs. Tennessee
Nov. 28- at Dallas
Dec. 8- at NY Jets
Dec. 15- vs. Kansas City
Dec. 22- at San Diego
Dec. 29- vs. Denver

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