Let’s be completely honest about predicting the NFL. It’s impossible!
I don’t care how much football you watch. Whether you’re an NFL insider or a fan cruising the web for info, your chances are equal in guessing the outcome of a season.
Remember last year when the Philadelphia Eagles were self-glossing themselves (well…Vince Young really) as the “dream team”? If 8-8 is a dream then I’d hate to see what a Philadelphia nightmare looks like.
Remember how the Green Bay Packers were tearing through the league in route to a sure defense of their title? Maybe my memory isn’t so good but I recall those same Packers playing only one game in the postseason.
There was even a camp out there proclaiming the Arizona Cardinals as NFC West champs because of Kevin Kolb while others declared the 49ers chumps due to Alex Smith still being the signal caller.
I think you get the point.
More to the point of this post, ESPN’s John Clayton has predicted that the 2012 Oakland Raiders will once again fall into the land of 11 losses. Clayton has Oakland propping up the AFC West with a 5-11 record while the Denver Peytons will move to top of the division with a 10-6 record.
Normally I might be quick to jump on Johnny Good Times for his complete lack of respect for the talent on the Raiders roster. My Raider Nation instincts are great at sniffing out Raider Haters and putting them in their place.
But I’ll be totally honest this time around. I have no clue what to expect of this team.
Before I open up about my Oakland angst, let me point out that Clayton picked the Chargers to finish second at 9-7 then the Chiefs third at 7-9. We all know what this division is like and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the exact opposite of what Clayton predicted happened with the Denver Mannings dropping to 5-11. Let’s not just overlook the fact that we’re talking about a QB with a severe neck condition.
All that said we have no clue what these Raiders will be like under a new head coach with a new philosophy and with plenty of Band-Aids applied to positions that were a weakness last season. We have no idea what Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer will be like as a cornerback tandem. We’re not so sure Darren McFadden will remain healthy or if Carson Palmer will take a step forward. We don’t even know what Rolando McClain’s status will be come the start of the season.
So instead of jumping on Clayton I’m taking a big step back from my normal ramblings. I’m not going to use this as an excuse to bash ESPN for its continued Raider Hatred. I’m not going to take this opportunity to reference Sean Salisbury’s crypt keeper blast. I’m just going to take the wait and see approach just like Reggie McKenzie. Even he can’t be entirely sure what his team will look like in 2012 so how can I? I do know this much. No matter what I know what I’ll be doing every Sunday as soon as the season starts and no matter the results I’ll be doing the same thing the Sunday after that. It’s Raiders till I die, baby! That’s a prediction you can take to the bank.