Recently I was asked by SB Nation to lay out my reasons why the Raiders could go over or under the oddsmakers win total of six. There are reasons to believe either one, but the question is which is more likely.
Last season the Raiders finished 4-12, so in order to hit the over they would need to improve by at least three games. Will Brinson of CBS Sports doesn’t think that will happen and he lays out several reason why he came to that conclusion.
But here are my concerns: this team is on “Hard Knocks,” which has always served as a distraction. It’s moving to Vegas in a year and that is very much on everyone’s mind. It’s in a very difficult division and it’s loaded with combustable personalities. It’s not hard to imagine Brown screaming at Carr or Gruden on the sidelines in Week 4 when things aren’t going well. I think the Raiders are headed in the right direction, but there are too many difficult games on their schedule and too much uncertainty with their overall situation for me to back the over. They start with the Broncos and Chiefs at home, then get the Colts and Vikings on the road before hosting Khalil Mack and the Bears. 1-4 could be in the cards, and that’s a big hole to dig out of that early in a crucial season.
Brinson also picks the Broncos to finish over 7 wins and for the Chargers to beat out the Chiefs to take the division. That means he sees the Raiders finishing dead last with no more than five wins, which would be just a one-game improvement over last season.