Entering the 2011 season, it’s clear that the AFC West is in for a beating.
Last year was the easiest schedule in history: the weak NFC West, and the unexciting AFC South were nothing to worry about. But even then the Chiefs only managed 10 wins, with less for the other AFCW teams.
Now we have the brutal NFC North and the AFC East to contend with. These contain many playoff teams, with veteran leadership and QB play, who get to the post season year in and year out.
My prediction is the these NO WAY any AFC West team will get more than 8 wins in the season to come. For sure 9 wins is enough to take the division, but most likely the Raiders will be division champs at 8-8, breaking the tie with San Diego because they will have more wins inside the division.
This year will be filled with injuries, beatings, batterings, humiliating losses and ass whippings. AFC West teams will struggle with second stringers filling in, and getting outgamed, out muscled and out fought by the playoff teams in other divisions. This season will be bloody and ugly and the Raiders are sure to take many punches to the gut.
Under massive strain some AFC West teams will buckle, implode and break apart. This season will break them. However, the teams that can handle defeat and keep on fighting, that can take a beating and keep on playing will become stronger than ever.
Oakland will lose games painfully. When they lost to PIT last year, the team imploded and started to fall apart. Even though they eventually banded back together, it was too late to win the division. If we break like that again this year, it’s over for this team, and 2012 will be more of the same humiliation. However, if Raiders can take a few tough losses, and get up stronger each time, the sky will be the limit for this team.
2010 was a weak year. Fighting weak teams makes you weaker not stronger. If you win against pipsqueaks like the Chiefs and Broncos, you just get overconfident.
However in 2011 we play some of the greatest teams in the league. And win or lose, those games will teach the Raiders lessons that they MUST learn in order to become a playoff team again. To become the best you MUST fight the best. Oakland has to take the lumps that come with a hard fought game. And if Hue Jackson can lead these players, this team has the talent to win the Superbowl in 2012.
But only if they survive the trial by fire in 2011.