Oakland Raiders 2016 Schedule: First glance predictions

Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans cheer during the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans cheer during the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Weeks 5-10: Getting to the Bye

Weeks 5-9 of the season will be perhaps the most essential for the Raiders to determine if this is going to be a winning team or another mediocre disappointment of a season. The Raiders start this run of games at home against the Chargers in their first divisional match of the year. The Chargers are of course still led by Philip Rivers, but haven’t done much towards improving a team that the Raiders beat twice last season.

The Raiders are trending up while the Chargers are trending down, and the Raiders will be up for the game against the divisional rivals. Amari Cooper hopefully won’t be limited by a bad foot like he was late last year and the Raiders will have some new wrinkles for the Chargers defense, which is now missing Eric Weddle, its best player for the past few seasons. Look for the Raiders to get a convincing win.

Prediction: Raiders 41, Chargers 24.

The Raiders stay at home for the second week in a row to face the Chiefs in week 6, the same Chiefs who swept the Raiders last season behind an unbelievable defense that forced Derek Carr into bad throws, stuffed the run game, and just gave the Raiders a generally hard time. The Chiefs retained many of their role players save for cornerback Sean Smith, who is now a Raider, and this could upset the balance of power for both teams, but they should have Jamaal Charles back healthy.

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  • The Raiders will have to play very well in order to get the win against the Chiefs, but coming off a big home win against the Chargers, they should have some momentum. It won’t be a shootout by any long stretch, but the Raiders offense has more guys than does the Chiefs offense, and Alex Smith will be harassed by the Raider pass rush badly. Look for the Raiders to get back to back wins at home here. Prediction: Raiders 20, Chiefs 16.

    The Raiders next go on the road to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, a pretty bad to mediocre team led by a quarterback who shows promise but was drafted way too high, in a game the Raiders should win easily. But if being a Raider fan, or an NFL fan has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes teams don’t win games they should.

    There is no logical argument to be made on paper looking at the two teams rosters and coaching staffs, but easily winnable games on the road in the Eastern time zone, coming off of big divisional wins, smell like a trap, and this has that written all over it. Look for the Raiders to disappoint here and drop one.

    Prediction: Jaguars 27, Raiders 23.

    The Raiders will have to get up for another game in Florida a week later, playing the Buccaneers in Tampa. The Buccaneers were pretty bad last season, going 6-10 for veteran head coach Lovie Smith, and had one of the NFL’s worst defenses statistically. Don’t look for them to be that bad on the defensive side for two years in a row under Lovie Smith, but the offense may have its issues.

    Thanks to Jameis Winston’s impressive rookie stat line (over 4,000 yards and 22 TD’s, 6 rushing TD’s) and Doug Martin’s big year running the ball (over 1,400 yards, 4.9 YPC, 6 TD’s), the Bucs finished 5th in total offense last year, but 20th in scoring, managing to score 34 touchdowns in 16 games.

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  • The Bucs have playmakers on that offense that could make things difficult for the Raiders, but Sean Smith is a good matchup for Mike Evans, and the menacing Raiders pass rush may force Jameis Winston into bad decisions. If the Raiders can take an early lead and force Winston to win the game, rather than Doug Martin to eat clock, the Raiders can pull it out, but the strain of back to back road games in the eastern time zone may prove too much.

    Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Raiders 17.

    When the Raiders started 5-1, the media likely took notice, and when the Raiders dropped two in a row after that, the media is likely saying their season may be a bust. And right in that media storm, the Raiders will get the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, at home, coming off two losses, on a Sunday night. The Broncos will be quarterbacked by God Only Knows Who, but still sport the best defense in football.

    That said, the Raiders pass rush that got to Brock Osweiler relentlessly last year in the Raiders road win in Denver will be better, and the Broncos offensive line will not be, and the Raiders will likely have a few new things to throw at Denver’s defense then they did last year. Look for the Raiders to shut down the defending champions offense and do just enough to put up the winning points against that defense, breaking the losing skid at home under the lights.

    Prediction: Raiders 17, Broncos 9.

    Week 10 is a bye week for the Raiders, as they prepare to travel to Mexico City.

    Weeks 5-10 record: 3-2

    Overall record: 6-3