Lower expectations could lead to exceeded expectation
Heading into the 2017 season, the Raiders were seen by many as a potential Super Bowl contender. While that definitely did not come to fruition, it ended up causing a lot of change within the organization, and sometimes, that can be a good thing.
With Jon Gruden back at head coach, the Raiders have their swagger back, and Derek Carr is healthy heading into year five. He has a ton of weapons on offense, and the organization made a concerted effort to get better in their weak areas on the defense this offseason.
In addition, the schedule is a lot easier than it was a year ago, and is even one of the easiest in the league, based on the records from 2017 of their opponents. The coaching staff is a better collective group than it was a year ago, and the 2018 draft class has some elite talent that should dominate in year one.
The bottom line is, nobody really knows what to expect from this team heading into the 2018 season. Will Coach Gruden have an easy return to the sideline? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the vibe around this team is different with Gruden in charge, and there is more talent on the roster than there was a year ago.