Bleacher Report released their predictions for every NFL team’s win-loss record in 2020 and they are off the mark for the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Las Vegas Raiders are kicking off a new era with high expectations from Raider Nation but those same feelings may not be shared by the sportsbooks or apparently by Bleacher Report. The outlet released their projections for every team’s win-loss record in 2020 and they are not very high on the Raiders’ hopes.
B/R pegged the Raiders as a 8-8 team and predicted they “should be better in 2020, though perhaps not significantly so in the win column”. With all due respect to the folks at B/R they have missed the mark here and undersell the talent on the team and the way it will translate on the field.
Their primary contention for why the Raiders may not do so well in 2020 is because of the transition to Las Vegas and that “It may take time for things to come together for the Raiders”. They point to the Raiders early tough schedule as another reason and while that is fair, many of those early tough games will be at home so they will not have to deal with the challenges of traveling with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging.
As for the point of things taking time to “come together” for the Raiders, B/R seems to overlook the fact that the Raiders are one of the lucky teams in the NFL with a great deal of consistency in both staff and personnel from 2019 to 2020. The Raiders will be in year three of both the Jon Gruden offense and Paul Guenther defense and the benefit of not having to learn a new system in a unique offseason should not be overlooked.
Revamped personnel on both sides of the ball
In terms of personnel, we have written at length about how 10 of the 11 starters on offense will be returning from 2019 so they can pick up right where they left off with the addition of some talented rookies. Those rookies may take some time to pick up the offense but they can be bit-part contributors until they are all caught up.
On defense the picture is a bit murkier but all of the new faces there are veteran players who have been around the NFL long enough to understand the intricacies of the game at the highest level. These are not rookies trying to learn new playbooks while acclimating to the speed of the NFL, they are all seasoned veterans who come ready with plenty of regular season and playoff experience.
The transition from Oakland to Las Vegas may have been difficult from an off-field perspective due to the pandemic but the on-field transition should be relatively smooth. It may have been complicated for the players and coaches to find housing and get settled in Las Vegas, especially for the rookies, but the upgrade in facilities seem to be worth the trouble.
A more accurate prediction for the Raiders in 2020 is 11-5 at best and 9-7 at the worst, giving the Silver and Black their first winning record since 2016. At the end of the day however what matters most is that Raiders make the postseason and while we believe they can go 11-5, if they get in to the playoffs at 8-8 then so be it. Like the late Al Davis always said, Just Win (and get in the playoffs), Baby!