Raiders’ new look poise to grab headlines in 2019

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /

After one of the busiest (and noisiest) offseasons in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders are hoping to climb out of the AFC West basement.

Best-case scenario

The Oakland Raiders brought in talent on both sides of the ball this offseason with savvy front office moves by general manager Mike Mayock. The addition of weapons on offense should give Derek Carr the time and options he needs to move the ball on a more consistent basis in 2019.

On defense, the Raiders have upgraded all three levels. It’s clear they added team speed to that side of the ball. If they can navigate a tough early-season schedule, the Raiders could be a team that is fighting for a Wild Card berth until late in the season, which would be a nice turnaround from a four-win season in 2018.

Worst-case scenario

Even with the injuries to two key players on the Los Angeles Chargers, the AFC West is a division that is going to be tough to navigate in 2019.

The Kansas City Chiefs head into the season with the reigning NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes, and if the Raiders secondary does not improve this season, he will be very hard to beat. There is a chance that, due to the division, and the fact they have the hardest strength of schedule in the NFL this season, the Raiders could once again be looking at an early draft pick in 2020.

The worst-case scenario is the Antonio Brown situation blows up in the team’s face, the rookies do not produce, and the veterans the team brought in are pedestrian at best.

Confidence level (Low, medium or high)


The Raiders have looked strong during the summer, showing the roster is much-improved. While they have the talent to play with most teams on their schedule, there are a lot of things that have to go right. Oakland has a solid coaching staff and leaders on this team, but it will have to prove they can gel as a unit when the games actually count in September. If things click early, they could surprise some people.


Clelin Ferrell.

It is no big secret that the Raiders struggled to get after the quarterback last season, finishing dead last in the NFL with only 13 sacks. The loss of Khalil Mack was felt, so it was no surprise the team spent its No. 4 overall selection on the Clemson defensive end. Based on the collection of quarterbacks the Raiders will face in 2019, Ferrell leading a bolstered pass rush is crucial to the success of the Silver and Black.

Turning point

Week 9 vs. Detroit Lions.

The first seven games of the Raiders’ schedule are a gauntlet, as they take on division foes in Weeks 1 and 2 before facing the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans.

In Week 9 they host the Detroit Lions in their first game at the Coliseum since Week 2. If Oakland comes out of the first seven games with three wins, it could go on a nice run from Weeks 9-12, setting themselves up for a postseason run.

Best moment in team history

Willie Brown’s interception for a touchdown in Super Bowl XI.

In the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory, the game was clinched in the fourth quarter by one of the greatest cornerbacks in league history. The Hall of Famer’s interception is one of the more epic plays in Super Bowl history, as Brown returned the interception 75 yards for a touchdown, and a Raiders 32-7 advantage. The victory began a run of three Super Bowl titles in eight years.