The Oakland Raiders play in one of the toughest divisions in football. Here are five reasons it will be the Silver and Black that wins the AFC West in 2017.
The regular season is only a handful of days away. 2017 looks to be a great year for the Silver and Black, as the Oakland Raiders can go as far as they want to this season. Last year, didn’t end the way Oakland wanted. The Raiders will want to do everything in their power to get back to the AFC playoffs.
Fortunately, Oakland looks to be at worst one of the five best teams in the AFC. While there are a lot of bad teams in the AFC, the Raiders are one of a handful of teams that can win multiple playoff games in January.
The easiest pathway to being able to do that is simple: win the division. That’s not going to be easy for the Raiders, as the AFC West might be the toughest division in football. Arch rival Kansas City is the most balanced team in the division. Denver and Los Angeles might be a step back of the Chiefs and Raiders, but should still be good football teams in their own right.
With the regular season rapidly approaching, here are five reasons it will be the Raiders that will win the 2017 AFC West title, host a playoff game and possibly reach Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.
5. Improved offensive weaponry
One of the best offenses got even better during the offseason. Oakland took to free agency to bolster a few position groups on their offense to be more balanced heading into 2017. Three big acquisitions include running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Lynch came out of retirement to play for his hometown Raiders. He wanted to play for no other team, as he wants to give every last bit of football he has left for the Silver and Black while they are in Oakland. In training camp and in the preseason, Lynch is running with the conviction to be the leader of this deep running back group.
Cook has been thought of as huge mismatch as a receiving tight end for some time now. His foot speed and size makes him a difficult cover for slower linebackers and smaller safeties. With the offense Todd Downing has set up, look for Cook to have his best season to date in the NFL.
Finally, Patterson offers a vertical threat to the Raiders’ passing game and another explosive playmaker on special teams. The Minnesota Vikings’ decision to let him walk after 2016 was head-scratching. With a chip on his shoulder, look for Patterson to help this team as a No. 3 receiver and as a returner in the kicking game.