AFC West Season Predictions: Midseason Review

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Jun 9, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders helmet of defensive end Justin Tuck (not pictured) at minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders

Pre-Season Prediction: 6-10

Current Record: 4-4

Revised Record Prediction: 8-8

My Take: Like the Broncos defense, I severely underestimated the overall improvement that the Oakland Raiders have

made this season. A team with some developing young talent, they seemed like a team that was a year or two away from being real playoff contenders. Thanks to an explosion in offensive production and improved defensive play (led by the ageless Charles Woodson), the Raiders find themselves squarely in the playoff mix this year.

Congrats, Raider nation. I looks like you finally found a QB.  Derek Carr has not only established himself as the Raiders quarterback for at least the forseeable future, but he has shown the consistency and production that would qualify him as a top 10 quarterback this year and potential for many years to come.

Aiding Carr in this rising offense is a core of offensive players highlighted by rookie sensation Amari Cooper.  To balance out the team’s sudden rise to relevance, players like Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards Jr. have found their NFL stride and have helped this Raiders defense make some steady progress so far this season.

Even though they look like a much improved team, I still see them missing the playoffs this year.  They will definitely be in the mix and if things break their way, they might do enough to get in as a wild card.  For the time being though, I’m giving them an improved record and a “close, but no cigar” postseason dream.

Next: Has Jamaal Charles Lost a Step?