Okay. This is the third time I have tried this. I get nearly to the end of my post and then it disappears into cyberspace. Not sure if its the site or if its me typing on a laptop while lying in bed and drinking a beer. Hmmmm....could just be me. Anyway, I am typing this in Word and then will paste. So if you are reading this, then I didn't get frustrated and throw this laptop out the window. Sigh.
So let me begin. I regularly scour the media for anything and everything I can find about the Raiders and really anything football. Most of the so-called experts are ridiculous. John Clayton is a perfect example of this. He hates the Raiders so much you can't help but wonder if a Raider fan stole his milk money when he was a kid.
On the other hand, Bill Williamson, also of ESPN does the AFC West blog and he is pretty fair and objective. And his wife is a Raider fan, which in my opinion makes her twice as hot. Anyway, I digress. Personally, I like that every year the Raiders are downplayed and overlooked. I like that teams don't worry about facing us. That element of surprise, you know? But recently, all I keep reading is how the Raiders will stink up the division. Clayton, that moron, has us winning 5 games. 5! What they hell has he been smoking?! Really John, 5?! Moron. Even Bill, who I admire, is picking us to be in the 6-8 range. Wow. I am going to be objective and tell it to you straight. Now, I know what you are asking yourselves, "Can a Raider fan really be objective?" The answer is yes, however, wait until you see my first and second place picks before you decide...
4. Denver Broncos. Yup, you heard it here first. They finish last in the division. Elway himself, in his prime could come down onto the field, and still couldn't save this team. Yeah, I love me some Manning. Future HOF'er, great QB, good person. Kinda looks like a muppet. He can read his progressions before the defense even gets out of their stance. All right...a bit of an exaggeration, but he is good. His quick release is envied by every QB in the league. And he will need it. Denver's Oline sucks, and surprisingly they didn't do crap to fix it in the offseason. They have a weak running game and while they have good recievers, their depth at that position is lacking. Yes, Peyton is that kind of player that makes everybody around him look better, but he is only one man. Denver has a very good defense, I would say the best in our division. But a defense can only carry you so far. Tebow was not a very good QB and probably won't ever be, but that kid has wheels. Peyton does not. A good secondary combined with a good pass rush will lead to a lot of balls being thrown away. In addition to all of this is Manning's health status. Is he really healthy enough to take a hit? I think not. And that is why we will see a lot of balls thrown into the stands. On top of all that, they have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Denver is only one sack away from picking first in next season's draft. Even with a healthy Peyton I see them at 6-10.
3. San Diego Chargers. Again I go against the media darlings and call it as I see it. Last year, without a running game and a sorry Oline the Chargers just couldn't keep up. This year is no different. They have Matthews as the number 1 back, first of all. My grandma is pretty spry, I can see her gaining more yards than sweet little Ryan. Rivers had issues without a ground game to back him up. And while the Chargers had probably the best draft in the division, they are still an old team. I like the pickup of Gaither(another player getting too old for the game), but again, one man does not make a team. They are on the downside of a fabulous run. Let me repeat that...they are on the downside. They will continue to struggle and that will lead them into their "rebuilding" phase. Now with that being said, I would also point out that the Bolts are a tough team. They have their animals on the field every Sunday and they will not go quietly into that good night. They are bruisers. Period. However, they won't save Norv's job. I think he should start handing out resumes. Hey Norv! I hear Mickey D's is hiring! I see us splitting wins. I also see them at 8-8. Now here is where objectivity goes out the window. I really think this could go either way. But as a Raider fan, I have to follow my heart. So,second place in the division goes to:
2: Kansas City Chiefs. This is a team that the media hates as well. They don't factor in the injury losses from last season. So what if Cassell is not spectacular? He has enough weapons around him that he doesn't need to be. The return of Charles makes my heart palpitate in fear. Plus they now have Hillis in the backfield as well. This does not bode well for the Raiders who have shown in the last decade that they cannot stop the run. Berry returns for the defense. In my humble opinion, KC is the most 'proven' balanced team in the division. They have a few superstars that are backed up by a pretty impressive group. Now before you all think I'm gushing over the Chiefs, let me say that as a Raider fan I pretty much hate them. I am only speaking as objectively as I can. And what I see, is a team that is going to take it and serve it right back. This will be a close race to the finish line, but I see KC at 10-6 and a possible wildcard.
1. Oakland Raiders. Yeah baby. I said it and I meant it. Unlike the other teams in the AFC West, we have some pretty incredible variables. Okay, okay. Broncos have Manning, Chargers are the Chargers, and Jamaal Charles is healthy. But the Raiders have so much more to look at. First to look at is Carson Palmer. Last year he had no training camp (nobody did) and came off the bench to play in the middle of a game after having merely been signed just days before. And he still threw for 4k or whatever it was. He didn't have Dmac nor repoir with his WRs. Nobody outside of the Nation is giving this a guy a chance. I predict here and now, that he will be selected to the ProBowl. Another guy I see in the ProBowl...Dmac. If that cat can stay healthy thru 13+ games, we will be unstoppable. Oh yeah, and here's another ProBowler: Marcel Reese. What can this guy NOT do? Whew...hang on a second, I am getting pretty excited and need to relax.... Okay then. I could go on and on about our offense,but I won't. Okay, maybe just a name or two more...In the backfield Goodwin and Jones are a couple of young studs. I really like Moore and Ford. Still a little lukewarm on DHB. But I love the fact that we have options. At the helm we have Carson, with Leinart and Pryor in the wings. Our Oline will be one of the best in the NFL in the next few years. I love Little Wiz and Veldheer and Briesel is an automatic upgrade. Defensively we have gone from really stinky to smelling like fabreeze. How freakin' cool is it that Reggie Mac hired a DC for our head coach. AND Allen was the one of the main reasons the Broncos did so well last year! The only weakness I see on defense is the secondary (which is why I think we split games with the Bolts). With no serious injuries I see the Raiders finishing 11-5 and winning the division. So there you have it. Am I too far out there? What do you think?