Oakland Raiders (7-9)
You have the tools to succeed on offense in the long term.
The Raiders are the second team involved in the LA County stadium plan, paired with their division rivals in San Diego. They played in Los Angeles both longer and more recently than the Chargers, from 1982 to 1994, and as a result they still have a significant fan contingent in the area. The fact that the Raiders made the Oakland-to-LA move in 1982 should on average make this a bit easier for Raiders fans than Chargers fans.
Still, this is not fun for NorCal Raiders fans. Unlike the Chargers – who are floundering under the guidance of owner Dean Spanos, seemingly in an effort to dissuade the City of San Diego from wanting to keep them – the Raiders are making their climb towards competence. The Raiders are a solid candidate to break into the AFC playoffs in 2016, but they might not be in Oakland when they do.
The biggest reason for this improvement is the development of the core offense. Derek Carr built off of a strong rookie campaign, throwing 32 touchdowns and coming 13 yards short of 4,000 for the year. Carr’s improvement can be tied to his ability to stretch the field, and this was made easier with the additions of veteran Michael Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper. Cooper in particular was fantastic for the Raiders in the early half of the season, demonstrating his ability as a versatile threat who excels at making catches down the field.
Latavius Murray also demonstrated his value as a workhorse running back, rushing for 1,066 yards on the season for 4 YPC behind subpar run blockers. This was his second season on the field for Oakland, and was his first season shouldering the entire running workload having started only three games last season.
Next: St. Louis Rams