The Oakland Raiders 2018-19 

Strength of Schedule 

Off Season Predictions


The Oakland Raiders enter the 2018-19 season with a slew of new faces but the philosophy stays the same. Just win, Baby! The Raiders turn the head coaching reins over to the last coach that brought success to the team, Jon Gruden. There is vast speculation about the style Gruden will bring back to the club. Gruden coached a rough nose, attack the gap run game coupled with stifling defense schemes. He found success in the 90s and early 2000s leading the Raiders to multiple post season appearances and brought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory (against the Raiders ironically). 

Along with Jon Gruden the Raiders have added WR Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer. The Raiders also signed RB Doug Martin to split the main carries with Marshawn Lynch. I will discuss defensive adds and a depth chart closer to the preseason and will continue to update when The Raiders coaches do.


The Raiders face one of the easiest strength of schedule based on opponents records from 2017...However the fantasy points against individual position groups may factor into the upcoming season are slightly concerning.


I’ve put together a chart based off 2017 results here based of avg fantasy points allowed by position that the Raiders will face in 2018


Opponent

Difficulty

QB

RB

WR

TE

Result

Week 1

Vs Rams

high

8 - 13.52

30 - 20.52

 11 - 18.83

16 - 6.37

L

Week 2

@ Broncos

low

14 - 15.14

9 - 16.67

3 - 16.67

24 - 7.51

W

Week 3

@ Dolphins

low

22 - 16.44

26 - 19.61

5 - 16.98

30 - 7.51

W

Week 4

vs Browns

low

30 - 18.20

12 - 17.01

12 - 19.77

31 - 9.22

W

Week 5

@ Chargers

high

4 - 12.26

21 - 18.97

8 - 17.91

4 - 4.97

L

Week 6

vs Seahawks

  medium

6 - 13.06

7 - 16.31

25 - 21.58

8 - 5.26

L

Week 7

Bye

Bye

Bye

Bye

Bye

Bye

Bye

Week 8

vs Colts

low

19 - 15.71

19 - 18.36

25 - 22.73

22 - 7.39

W

Week 9

@ 49ers

high

22 - 16.44

26 - 19.61

20 - 20.83

12 - 5.87

W

Week 10

vs Chargers

high

4 - 12.26

21 - 18.97

8 - 17.91

4 - 4.97

L

Week 11

@ Cardinals

low

23 - 16.77

5 - 15.23

16 - 20.44

5 - 6.02

W

Week 12

@ Ravens

medium

2 - 10.74

24 - 19.20

4 - 16.78

20 - 6.76

L

Week 13

vs Chiefs

high

25 - 17.00

11 - 16.83

32 - 24.43

12 - 5.74

W

Week 14

vs Steelers

medium

9 - 13.57

22 - 19.15

10 - 18.46

7 - 5.19

W

Week 15

@ Bengals

low

16 - 15.49

25 - 19.33

2 - 16.15

21 - 7.09

W

Week 16

vs Broncos

high

14 - 15.14

9 - 16.67

3 - 16.67

24 - 7.51

L

Week 17

@ Chiefs

high

25 - 17.00

11 - 16.83

32 - 24.43

12 - 5.74

L








9-7


Although fantasy production doesn't always translate to real life wins and vice versa but here is a quick preview of how I see the Raiders season playing out.


The first six weeks are all tough fought before the bye. The Raiders square off against the Rams in Gruden’s return to the Raiders sideline. Unfortunately the homecoming will not be a great one. Todd Gurley and mastermind Sean McVay decimate the Raiders young defensive core. While Carr will struggle against their new look defense. The Gruden way does not come easy, it takes multiple games to see results. Luckily the easiest 3 games on the season are coming up next.The Broncos are sporting a new but veteran QB in Case Keenum and young backs complement the air attack anchored by Demaryius Thomas. However I predict there will be growing pains in the Denver backfield which the Raiders pass rush led by Khalil Mack and a rejuvenated Bruce Irvin on the opposite edge. The Raiders commitment to excellence in 2018 has begun.The Dolphins are in a similar position as the Broncos however with far less talent. A terrible offense led by Tannehill and Gore the Dolphins will have trouble producing points, even against the Raiders. Carr will have his best game to the season thus far and should lead to easy victory over a sad ‘Phins team. This hot streak comes to a chilling stop in LA when the Raiders travel to take on the Chargers. The Chargers boast a destructive pass rush and a no fly zone secondary anchored by Joey Bosa. Melvin Ingram and cornerback combo Heyward/Verret. The Raiders are unfortunately no match for the Chargers and lose handily on the road. The Seahawks provide a similar challenge but wield a much stronger weapon, Russell Wilson. This could be considered a game of the year with both teams keep the game close via shootout. A high scoring affair that Russell Wilson eventually wins. Raiders fall to 3-3 going into the bye.


The Raiders will host the Colts coming off the bye and look to take advantage of one of the worst defenses in the league. Although, If Andrew Luck can come back and be anything like he was before he catastrophic injury leading to a long term hiatus from the field the Colts keep this game competitive. I predict the Raiders drop the highest score total of the season against the Colts and move above .500 again. A much tougher test comes from the cross bay rivals the 49ers. The 49ers will be riding a hot streak thanks to new stud QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers, like the Raiders will field a young defensive back core along with a solid pass rush. The difference will come through the air, where I give the edge to Clutch Carr a close game down to the wire. Raiders improve to 5-3. The Chargers come storming into town sitting towards the top of the League along with Raiders and Chiefs, but the Raiders fall again to my predicted league leaders in sacks and turnovers. The Raiders just cannot match up with the defense personnel and lack the aerial threats to overcome an early deficit leading to mistakes and missed chances. A heartbreaking loss that will affect the overall outcome of the season. 5-4. The Raiders roll into the desert to take on DJ2K and the putrid Cardinals defense. Looking like another shootout game, the Raiders pass rush will take advantage of weak inside blocking and a rookie QB. The way to victory will be shutting down, or at least limit, David Johnson. A 4 to 5 touchdown performance by both squads leading to a Clutch Carr game winning drive. The Raiders go back on track at 6-4 going in to the road to the playoffs.


The Road’s first stop is in Baltimore and the revenge of Crabtree. Traveling to Baltimore the Raiders will face a stifling defense an a run heavy short pass offense. A similar style team at home will take the advantage early, leading to numerous lead changes and turnovers eventually leading in a Ravens victory. The Run stopping ability of the Ravens forces Carr to throw the most he has all season and makes it impossible to be unpredictable. Raiders fall to 6-5. Looking to bounce back at home vs the division leading Chiefs. The Raider putting all their divisional hopes on the line and actually get it done at home will be Gruden’s best win of the season. The Raiders will most likely be heavy underdogs which is right up his alley. We win a close game on the back of Marshawn who will not out produce his counterpart Kareem Hunt but will score more Touchdowns this day. Raiders win late again vs the Chiefs. Raiders are on their way to the postseason sitting at 7-5! Or are they…


The two of the last four games come against AFC North division opponents the Steelers and the Bengals. The Steelers will be competing for the division title while the Raiders will be aiming for a wildcard spot or a division title. The combo of Bell and Brown will prove tough to stop, However Big Ben hasn’t played a full season since 2014. I think the rookie Mason Rudolph is leading the Helm late into the season and without the experience he won’t have the poise to lead a late comeback. Raiders sit at the 6 seed at 8-5. The Black and Silver travel to Cincy to take on the bottom of the barrell bengals and should prove to be an easy win, however. AJ Green is a difference maker, keeping him in check his how the raiders handily beat the close to last place Bengals. Sitting at 9-5 the Raiders are all but locked into the playoffs. That is until the two toughest games of the year sitting in front of them. 


There is no bigger trap than facing two divisional opponents at the end of the year, whom you’ve already defeated while fighting for a playoff spot. This is where the Gruden factor needs to be shown. At this point the Broncos are out of the playoffs but have been playing their best football to date. Keenum look incredibly different from the first game. Comfortable and poised while the defense has figured out what works, getting to the QB. Chubb and Miller have a field day as Lynch can’t get anything going late into the season. Raiders fall to 9-6. Feeling the pressure from the already Clinched Chiefs and being tied for the 6th place in AFC playoff race the squad travels to Arrowhead to end the season. The Chiefs well oiled machine has produced a few all stars in Hill and Hunt who dominate week 17 giving the Raiders little hope at halftime to come back. The Raiders end the season at a disappointing but improved 9-7 than previous years. But do they make the playoffs?


AFC playoff predictions

  1. Pats
  2. Jags
  3. Chiefs
  4. Ravens
  5. Texans
  6. Chargers

Unfortunately dropping the last two games puts the Raiders at a tie break disadvantage with the Chargers and are excluded from the playoffs. The season was not all for the loss though. The first year for Jon Gruden back at the helm and the Raiders did not regress from the 2017 record wise. The Raiders will need to improve on acquiring talent that can compete with a division stacked in defense. They have the firepower just not the shields. Not exactly how we wanted it to end but our Raiders will be back to glory sooner rather than later. 


Stay tuned for Raiders individual rankings and draft advice when staring down players for the Silver and Black.