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The Raiders enter year 3 with Derek Carr under center and year 2 in Bill Musgrave’s system. One hopes that Derek Carr and the Raiders offense doesn’t suffer the same sophomore slump that the Lions did under Joe Lombardi last season.

Offense:

Key Additions:  G Kelechi Osemeli

Key Departures: None

Synopsis: There were no major changes on the offensive side of the ball this off-season. Osemeli will be an upgrade over the ageing Khalif Barnes. The loss of Rod Streater who at best was fourth on the depth chart at wide receiver is negligible. This stability on the offensive side of the ball should hopefully keep the Raiders offense from suffering a sophomore slump under Bill Musgrave.

Projected Starting Lineup: LT Donald Penn, LG Gabe Jackson, C Rodney Hudson, RG Kelechi Osemele, RT Menelik Watson, TE Clive Walford, WR1, Michael Crabtree, WR2 Amari Cooper, FB Marcel Reece, RB Latavius Murray, QB Derek Carr and K Sebastian Janikowski.

Defense:

Additions: CB Sean Smith, OLB Bruce Irvin, FS Reggie Nelson, SS Karl Joseph

Departures: FS Charles Woodson

Synopsis: The leadership of future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson in the defensive backfield cannot be overstated. With that said I do believe that Reggie Nelson will be at the very least be an adequate replacement for Woodson. The addition of Bruce Irvin should boost an already dangerous pass rush.  Sean Smith is certainly an upgrade over D.J Hayden and T.J. Carrie and with Hayden moving back to the slot withe David Amerson, I think that the Raiders secondary can be one of the best in the league. I also think Mario Edwards takes that step forward and earns the starting job at RE over Aldon Smith.

Projected Starting Lineup: LE Khalil Mack LDT Justin Ellis, RDT Dan Williams RE Mario Edwards WLB Malcom Smith, MLB Ben Heeney, SLB Bruce Irvin, CB1 Sean Smith, CB2 T.J. Carrie, SS Karl Joseph, FS Reggie Nelson and P Marquette King

Final Analysis: The Broncos are catchable this season, the Chargers can never seem to get out of their own way no matter what they try which to me leaves the real  struggle for the AFC West crown between the Raiders and the Chiefs. If the Raiders can get off to a fast start to me they are the clear favorites to win the AFC West.

Record: 11-5 1st AFC West

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