After a lengthy stint in broadcasting, Jon Gruden hung up the headphones to return to the sidelines and coach the Oakland Raiders in 2018. Let’s just say that the season didn’t turn out too well. The team opened up the year at 0-3, and it didn’t get much better the rest of the way.
Oakland would finally get in the win column with a Week 4 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns, but another five-game losing streak would follow to plunge the team’s record to 1-8. On the bright side, the team would show a pulse the rest of the way and win three of their final eight games.
A record of 4-12 wasn’t quite what the Raiders faithful had in mind when Gruden returned for his second stint as head coach. Neither was the team parting ways with two of its best assets in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.
It became quite clear that Oakland was in rebuilding mode after those two moves, but that doesn’t take away the pain from the frustrating season. Of the team’s 14 losses, nine of them were by double digits. Three of the team’s victories were by three points or less.
There was plenty amiss with the Raiders in 2018. Oakland ranked 28th in the league for average points scored per game. On defense, the club ranked dead last in average points allowed per contest. Derek Carr, who had once shown great promise, took a step back and looked like anything but a confident signal caller.
Oakland had four picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, and early returns suggest GM Mike Mayock and company did a solid job of restocking the coffers. The proof will be in the pudding, but it’s at least a positive sign for a franchise which is desperately in need of one.
The NFL betting sites aren’t sold, as they have the club bringing up the rear in the AFC West once again. Is that a fair assessment, or is it possible that the Raiders will surprise in Gruden’s second year at the helm?
Let’s take a closer look at the state of the Raiders as the new season approaches, starting with a closer look back at 2018.
Oakland Raiders 2018 Season Recap
Record: 4-12 | Standings: 4-AFC West | Playoffs: N/A
The Raiders opened up the season at home for a Monday night tilt with the Los Angeles Rams. It wasn’t even close. The Rams cruised to a 33-13 win, outscoring Oakland 23-0 after the half. A one-point road loss to the Denver Broncos came in Week 2, followed by an eight-point road defeat to the Miami Dolphins.
The pressure was mounting as a Week 4 home game with the Cleveland Browns approached. A shootout erupted, and Carr would have his best statistical game of the year as the Raiders won by a score of 45-42 in overtime.
After the victory, the Raiders responded with perhaps their poorest stretch of the year. They lost the next five games in a row, with the lowest margin of victory being 14 points. A two-point road win over the Arizona Cardinals stopped the bleeding, but another pair of losses followed.
Going 2-2 over the final four games of the season should hardly count as a bright spot, but that’s about as good as it got for the Raiders in 2018. The season came to a close in Kansas City with a 35-3 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs.
This time was not ready for primetime, but that would at least result in them being granted the number four pick in the following year’s draft.
Oakland Raiders Offseason Moves
The major pieces of the coaching staff remain in place. Gruden returns for the second year of his return to Oakland. Greg Olson is back as offensive coordinator, while Paul Guenther returns to lead the defense.
The wide receiving corps got a big upgrade when the team was able to swing a trade for Antonio Brown. In free agency, the club would bolster the corps once again by signing wideout Tyrell Williams. Other additions include T Trent Brown and LB Vontaze Burfict. On the way out of Oakland are players including T Donald Penn and TE Jared Cook.
The Raiders had three selections. They used their first pick on DE Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson, who is expected to fill the pass rushing void. Alabama RB Josh Jacobs and Mississippi State S Jonathan Abram would follow later in the round. In the second-round, the team nabbed CB Trayvon Mullen out of Clemson.
Carr returns behind center, with Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman behind him on the depth chart. Jacobs will battle for carries with Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. Behind Brown and Williams, JJ Nelson, Ryan Grant, and Marcell Ateman are among the names to watch in camp.
Darren Waller and Luke Willson are atop the TE depth chart. The defense has nowhere to go but up, but the club did make a number of additions via the draft and free agency.
Oakland Raiders 2019 Schedule
|1||Mon. Sept. 9||vs. Denver Broncos||10:20 PM||ESPN|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||4:05 PM||CBS|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||at Minnesota Vikings||1:00 PM||FOX|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||at Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM||CBS|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||vs. Chicago Bears*||1:00 PM||FOX|
|7||Sun. Oct.20||at Green Bay Packers||1:00 PM||CBS|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||at Houston Texans||1:00 PM||CBS|
|9||Sun. Nov.3||vs. Detroit Lions||4:05 PM||FOX|
|10||Thu. Nov.7||vs. Los Angeles Chargers||8:20 PM||FOX|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||vs. Cincinnati Bengals||4:25 PM||CBS|
|12||Sun. Nov.24||at New York Jets||1:00 PM||CBS|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||at Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 PM||CBS|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||vs. Tennessee Titans||4:25 PM||CBS|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars||4:05 PM||CBS|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||at Los Angeles Chargers||TBD||CBS|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||at Denver Broncos||4:25 PM||CBS|
*Game to be played in London
The Raiders open up at home on Monday night once again, this time versus the Broncos. It’ll be an interesting test for both sides as they are expected to be behind the Chiefs and Chargers in the AFC West pecking order. A brutal stretch versus four potential playoff squads follows prior to the Week 6 bye.
Over the rest of the year, the schedule works in bunches for Oakland. They have a trio of back-to-back road games, as well as stretches of three and two in a row at home. The remaining schedule isn’t quite as imposing as the team’s run of games before the bye, but there are still plenty of trouble spots for the club to contend with.
Oakland Raiders 2019 Outlook
The Chiefs and Chargers are expected to duke it out for the division crown while the Broncos and Raiders battle for scraps. The six games versus familiar foes is quite challenging, but Oakland should be able to pull out two victories.
For the remaining AFC schedule, the Raiders hit the road to take on the Colts, Texans, and Jets. They’ll be home for the Bengals, Titans, and Jaguars. This is a tough group of six games for a team that’s in the midst of a re-tool, but the Raiders should be able to get two victories.
Interconference play translates into games with the NFC North this season. The Raiders will be on the road to face the Packers and Vikings, home to face the Lions, and in London for a date with the Bears. Barring major improvement, the best Oakland may be able to hope for is one victory.
Oakland Raiders 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is the benchmark that the oddsmakers have put in place for the 2019 Raiders. It’s an improvement over the team’s four-win campaign of a year ago, but the club is still expected to occupy the basement of the AFC West.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
The Raiders entered the offseason with a lengthy to-do list, and they were able to check off many boxes. There is more talent at wideout and on defense, so we should see more signs of life on both sides of the ball. That said, we’re not so sure that will translate into immediate success.
After a potentially winnable game at home with the Broncos, the Raiders face four tough teams in a row before the bye week. If things go south here like they did last year, it could get ugly in Oakland. A lengthy losing streak for the second year in a row is about the last thing Gruden and company need.
We are expecting more improvement out in Oakland, just more of the incremental variety. That leaves us on the Under for the Raiders in 2019.