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Raiders 2017 Season Preview

Oakland Raiders At A Glance

Owner: Mark Davis

General Manager: Reggie McKenzie

Head Coach: Jack Del Rio, 3rd season, 19-13 win-loss record

2016 Record: 12-4, second AFC West

Key Additions: TE Jared Cook, LB Jelani Jenkins, RB Marshawn Lynch, QB EJ Manuel, OL Marshall Newhouse, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson.

Key draft picks: CB Gareon Conley, S Obi Melifonwu, DT Eddie Vanderdoes, OT David Sharpe, LB Marquel Lee

Key Losses: S Nate Allen, LB/ST Daren Bates, CB DJ Hayden, WR Andre Holmes, OT Austin Howard, DL Stacy McGee, QB Matt McGloin, RB Latavius Murray, TE Mychal Rivera, S/ST Brynden Trawick, MLB Malcolm Smith, OT Menelik Watson, DT Dan Williams,

2017 Season Opener: at Tennessee Titans, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. (Pacific), CBS

The Skinny:

The Oakland Raiders have lofty expectations for the 2017 season. They are a trendy choice to advance to the Super Bowl after a breakthrough 2016 season.

The Raiders have potential for a prolific offense, led by quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Their defense, featuring 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, has concerns at linebacker and secondary.

Carr, Cooper and Mack are three elite players capable of carrying the Raiders deep into the playoffs.

Players To Watch

QB Derek Carr — Last season was in the discussion for NFL MVP when he fractured his right fibula during the fourth quarter of a Week 16 win over the Colts. He has completed 60.9 percent of his passes with 81 TD passes and 31 interceptions in his first three NFL seasons.

DE Khalil Mack — Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year had 11.0 sacks, five fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and a pick-six during the 2016 season. The former University of Buffalo star is the only player in the NFL with at least 25 sacks the past two seasons. Mack did not have a sack during the final four games last season, including playoffs.

WR Amari Cooper — The former Alabama star has 155 catches for 2,223 yards and 11 TDs in his first two NFL seasons, but he has had limited production in the waning weeks of each season. In the final three games of each of his two NFL seasons, Cooper combined for only three TD catches.

RB Marshawn Lynch — Beast Mode makes no secret he wants to lead his hometown team to a Super Bowl title. At 31, the former Seahawk must show his power running skill has not diminished after a year away from the game.

TE Jared Cook — Had modest numbers in the 2016 regular season for Green Bay with 30 catches for 377 yards and a TD, but he became a force during the playoffs with 18 catches for 229 yards and two TDs as the Packers advanced to the NFC title game before losing to Atlanta.

KR/WR Cordarrelle Patterson — The former University of Tennessee star has 16 NFL career touchdowns — 7 receiving, 4 rushing and 5 kickoff returns during the past four seasons with the Vikings. Patterson is an upgrade as a kickoff returner and he projects as an explosive option in passing situations.

Feeling The Heat

Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. — Last season, the Raiders ranked 26th in points allowed (26.0/416 yards), 24th against the pass (257.5 yards per game), 26th in total defense (375.1) and had a league-low 25 sacks. Norton kept his job but former San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagno was hired and given the title "assistant head coach-defense." If the Oakland defense stumbles early in the season, it is not a stretch of the imagination to envision Norton being replaced by Pagno as defensive coordinator.

TE Clive Walford — Has 61 catches for 688 yards and six TDs combined in his first two NFL seasons but has not emerged as the team's top tight end in the passing game. The Raiders signed former Packer Jared Cook to offer competition for Walford, a third-round choice in 2015, and Lee Smith.

Raiders middle linebackers — If the Raiders defense is to improve from last season, someone needs to step forward at middle linebacker. Fifth-round draft choice Marquel Lee from Wake Forest emerged as the starter entering the regular season.

ROT Marshall Newhouse — Projects as the starting right tackle after Austin Howard, who started 39 games at the position the past three seasons, was released July 28. Newhouse started 20 of 24 games the past two seasons for the New York Giants.

The Schedule

The Raiders' 2017 regular-season schedule features five prime-time games — three Sunday night contests, a Thursday night home game against the Kansas City Chiefs and a Christmas Day game at the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Oakland's home finale is a Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Raiders play Sunday night road games against the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

The Raiders are fourth in 2017 NFL Strength of Schedule. Oakland's opponents had a .564 combined winning percentage and a 144-111-1 record in 2016.

The Raiders play four 2016 playoff teams: Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. The Raiders play the Giants in Oakland for the first time since 2005.

The Raiders play a regular-season in Mexico City for the second straight season when they are the home team against the Patriots on Nov. 19.

For the second straight year, the Raiders begin and end the season with three road games over four weeks. Also, the Raiders have only three games in Oakland over the final 10 weeks (including a bye week) of the season after playing four home games in the season's first seven weeks.

Fast Facts
Derek Carr throws for a franchise record 513 passing yards to lead visiting Oakland to a 30-24 victory in overtime against Tampa Bay on Oct. 30, 2016. Cotton Davidson set the previous record of 427 yards against Denver on Oct. 25, 1964.

Defensive end Khalil Mack has a sack in eight straight games during the 2016 season, matching Lance Johnstone (1998) for the longest streak in Raiders franchise history since sacks became official in 1982.
The Raiders equaled a franchise record with six road wins during the 2016 season. The team was 6-1 in road games in 1974 and 1976. Under coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders are 11-6 in away games.
The Raiders are 2-12 their past 14 season openers. They won at Denver 23-20 in 2011 and beat host New Orleans 35-34 in 2016.

By The Numbers

5: Consecutive Raiders losses to AFC West rival Kansas City.

12: Oakland victories in the 2016 season, the team's most wins since a 12-4 record in 2000.

25: Oakland sacks in the 2016 season, the fewest sacks by any team in the NFL.

81: Touchdown passes by the Raiders' Derek Carr in his first three NFL seasons.

1,000: Amari Cooper (1,153) and Michael Crabtree (1,003) each eclipse the 1,000 plateau in receiving yards during the 2016 season, becoming the first Raiders duo to reach 1,000 receiving yards since Hall of Famers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice accomplished the feat in 2001.

Did You Know?

The Raiders rally from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the visiting Buffalo Bills 38-24 on Dec. 4, 2016. It's the biggest comeback by Oakland since erasing a 21-point deficit en route to a 38-31 win against Indianapolis on Sept. 10, 2000.

Photo IDs/credit:
Derek Carr (4), Khalil Mack (52), Amari Cooper (89)

From Google Images & Getty Images

Updated: 9-5-2017


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