Joe Heller | May 13th, 2020
The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a season that fell off the rails, after losing a rookie running back to an injury that shelved him for the last month of the season. The Raiders were primed for a wildcard spot prior to Jacobs’ injury, as the Chiefs had the AFC West Division all but locked up when the calendar flipped to December. Here are my five bold predictions for the Las Vegas Raiders. Make sure to check out all of our other team bold predictions here.
Josh Jacobs will contend for the NFL Rushing Title
Before being sidelined with an injury, the rookie running back was leaving a great first impression on the league. A fully healthy Jacobs this season will pick up where he left off. In a division that has its share of talented running backs (Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Damien Williams, and Phillip Lindsay), Jacobs may be the best of the bunch due to his youth and his skill set. He will prove that he wasn’t just a one-season fluke.
Darren Waller will move closer to the top tight end in the NFL
The embattled tight end is making the most of his second chance after off the field issues. He will continue his ascension up the ranks of the league’s players at his position. He’d even be considered the best tight end in the division, if not for Travis Kelce playing in the same division.
Marcus Mariota will get the reigns once again
A year removed from being on the losing end of a quarterback change in Tennessee, the former number two overall pick will be on the winning end of one this year. Since head coach Jon Gruden returned to coaching, rumblings have been whether or not Derek Carr was his signal-caller, even since Carr received a big contract extension prior to last season. Given how quickly the Raiders signed Mariota, it only leads to further speculation. At the very least, Mariota will start six games at quarterback this season, and prove that he is still deserving of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
They will beat the Chiefs twice this season
While this one may seem like a tall order, the Raiders, along with their division rivals the Denver Broncos, incorporated beating the defending Super Bowl Champions the Chiefs, who have won the AFC each of the last four seasons. The Raiders will sweep the season series against Kansas City, including a statement win at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Raiders will make the playoffs in their inaugural season in Sin City
While they won’t ultimately win the division, the team will make the playoffs as a wildcard team, edging out the Broncos. Mariota once again will lead a team to the playoffs (fueling the ongoing debate in Nashville), due in large part to the legs of Jacobs. Although I don’t see them pulling out more than one postseason victory, Jon Gruden’s team will take another huge step to being mentioned amongst the Conference’s best.
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