Ten predictions for 2008 Raiders

By Os Davis  |   Tuesday, July 29, 2008  |  Comments( 37 )

Oakland Raiders
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Over in Napa Valley, Calif., where the Oakland Raiders hold training camp, surely all is painted silver and black. Desperate to pack the cyberspace on its sports page, NapaValleyRegister.com has posted a bit of a feeder, asking all comers to cast their prediction on 2008: “Does the Silver and Black return to glory this year, or does the team struggle through another mediocre season?”

One prediction? Ha!

Never a Web site to slack off on its readers, hardworking RealFootball365.com today presents 10 fearless (and steadfast – the Napa Valley newspaper promises a chance “halfway through the season to revise your preseason prediction for the team” – wusses!) predictions on the 2008 Raiders.

• NFL offensive rookie of the year: Darren McFadden. If the offensive line improves on its encouraging performance from last season.

• The line won’t improve. Tom Cable's zone blocking schemes are effective and last year’s blocking was better than expected, but do even the die-hard Raider fans think Kwame Harris is a solution as a starter? And Robert Gallery’s a projected starter? Really?

• Robert Gallery will prove not to be the answer at left guard.

• In a backhandedly optimistic way, the only part of the Raiders’ game that will be as inadequate as the offensive line is the defensive line. In nearly all statistical areas except for sacks and sacks allowed, Oakland could well place in the top 10.

• Nnamdi Asomugha will have a killer season while exploiting guys like Jay Cutler and whoever’s in Kansas City to the tune of, say, 10 interceptions. Asomugha will fight Bob Sanders of the Colts for NFL defensive MVP, and unfortunately proclaims no intention of re-upping with the Raiders in 2009.

• JaMarcus Russell will, in fact, perform like a stud, thrill fantasy football owners -- particularly in the season’s second half -- and ultimately play in the Pro Bowl when either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning bows out.

• Kirk Morrison will finally get the leaguewide recognition he deserves. (C’mon now, 96 tackles and four interceptions doesn’t get you a Pro Bowl bid? Over 100 tackles and two interceptions – Morrison’s totals in 2006 – doesn’t either? What’s a Raider gotta do?)

• Playing their best ball in the last six games, the Raiders will be the ultimate spoiler in 2008. To completely hedge the bet, let’s say they eliminate the Chiefs from playoff contention in Week 13, the Texans in Week 16, and dump the Buccaneers in playoff seeding (perhaps completely out of the tournament) to close out the year. Could they stun the Chargers in San Diego in Week 14? Hey, maybe.

• A return to glory this year, or a struggle in mediocrity? How about neither? Set the over/under on Raider wins at 9.5, just missing the playoffs while taking a few teams down with ‘em.

• Within 24 hours of the final gun sounding in Tampa Bay in Week 17, at least one outlet will “report” – and will later be shown to have had little basis in fact – that Lane Kiffin is in Al Davis’ doghouse and his seat is hot. Mass reports of déjà vu in Raider Nation ensue.
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About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
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