If you look around the AFC West, the Oakland Raiders look like they are in for a fight this season. With two playoff teams calling the division home, the Raiders must find a way to go a minimum of .500 within the division.
The Chiefs Defense
Unlike recent years, the Chiefs will now operate of a 4-3, instead of the 3-4. While this may not appear as a concern for the Raiders, it should. Ends Frank Clark and Alex Okafor bring a little more power into the equation. We all remember how Frank Clark manhandled Kolton Miller.
“It’s very similar to what I had been playing in my first four years in Dallas. A lot of over – and a little bit of under – 4-3 defense,” Linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. “It’s a very similar situation – just different terminology and different names and different coverages. But for the most part, it’s a 4-3 under-over that I’m very comfortable with.”
Bright Spot for Oakland: Reggie Ragland in space does not do any byut help the Raiders. Ragland functions best downhill. If you make him go east-west, the offense can find daylight.
Broncos WR Corps
With Joe Flacco and his exorbitant contract poised to start in Denver, the Broncos look rather solid at quarterback. However, if you peruse their depth chart, the receiving talent, or lack thereof becomes problematic. Granted, rookie TE Noah Fant could give the Raiders issues, considering who will start at linebacker. Yet, the pairing of Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton should not strike fear into anyone. While Sanders presents an elusive trait, Sutton brings size to the table. As a result, either Daryl Worley or Trayvon Mullen can stay with him.
While Kolton Miller looks to build upon a rocky 2018, the LA Chargers may have their own issues. Protecting an aging, already slower Rivers, they need Sam Tevi and Russell Okung to step up. Whether they can, remains to be seen.
As mentioned, the Raiders are far from perfect in any facet of football. However, if you look around the division, each rival must contend with their own slew of weaknesses and problem spots.