2017 Schedule Review, Notes, and Prediction

The soon-to-be-Las Vegas Raiders are coming off a 2016 campaign that resulted in twelve (12) wins, a number nobody had predicted when entering the season.

With last year’s “success”, expectations have grown quite lofty, to say the least, especially on the heels of Derek Carr‘s noteworthy $125 million dollar contract. 12-wins has become the standard overnight, and it’s Super Bowl-or-bust when you’re talking Raiders football in 2017 and beyond.

What very few fans, bloggers, and media alike (well, very few outside of Justis Mosqueda, who guarantees regression in 2017, and for good reasons) are talking about is just how close the wins last season were. Couple that with a defense that, somehow, failed to get better (and in some aspects, looks to take another step back) and you’ve got a recipe for disappointment.

I’ve read plenty of unrealistic goals and dreams on the timeline, my pals. I can’t buy it. Derek Carr’s going to need to put up 40 points every Sunday for the Raiders’ to even be in the conversation when the fourth quarter rolls around. That doesn’t sound like a Super Bowl-caliber team, to me.

You see, despite the firepower on offense, this Raiders’ defense remains bottom-five.

It’s not good.

In fact, it’s bad.

I don’t like typing those words anymore than you like reading them, but it’s just the reality we find ourselves in.

The complete mismanagement of the linebacker position alone is baffling. Even prior to the roster cuts, this position group, far and away, is the NFL’s worst.

If you’re still holding on to some sort of misplaced hope, we can talk about the secondary now.

As we know, a unit that I was adamant on addressing this offseason, and was happy to see General Manager Reggie McKenzie burn two early selections on. Only problem is, rookie CB Gareon Conley is still working back from a “shin injury”, while fellow rookie safety Obi Melifonwu is having a hard time staying on the field.

Either way, while I’m personally high on both players, an early return on investment may be out of the picture due to the missed time and general inconsistency we’ve seen thus far.

Sean Smith spent Training Camp fumbling around with the 2’s and 3’s. When we did see him on the field, he picked up right where he left off, and continued to look completely out of place. He’s no longer a starter in the league, and a non-starter the Raiders’ have on the hook for a decent amount of cash. David Amerson is, sadly, the Raiders’ best option at cornerback it would appear.

Just let that last sentence digest for a minute.

Speaking of rookies, safety Shalom Luani is one of the few bright spots to come out of this offseason on defense. The 7th round selection has flashed all preseason, and eventually found his way on the 53. I’d like to think that it’s only a matter of time before he starts eating into Reggie Nelson‘s snaps. He offers similar upside as a playmaker, while being younger and more athletic, of course.

A majority of you know already how I feel about Nelson who, to his credit, fills the “leadership” role admirably, but no one is arguing that the best is yet to come. He’s a touch slower, and simply put, a liability in the deep half. Not everyone can age like Chuck Woodson, unfortunately.

Other than talking-up all-world monster Khalil Mack, the player I’m most excited about on this side of the ball (and roster in general) is Karl Joseph. Going on to year two and now fully-recovered, I think you’re going to see him take over some games at times. He has the chance to be special, and is one of only two or three impact players on defense at the moment.

If Luani isn’t ready to roll full-time, you could feasibly drop Joseph back deep (replacing Nelson) and assuming Melifonwu is able to step-up (health-wise), let him play in the box. There are options in the secondary, unlike the second level, but I’m not sure any lead to success this season.

I don’t have much to add regarding the defensive line.

We know what we have there. We know it’s been a problem for years, as well.

Briefly: Mario Edwards Jr. is back, healthy, and it’s apparent that any amount of success that this team has up front will be a result of his availability. Rookie Eddie Vanderdoes had a few splash plays this preseason, and overall, garnered some high praise throughout workouts and Camp. If he can carry over to the regular season, things will get a little easier, sure, but is it record-altering impact? Doubtful.

Now that we’re all good and sad, it’s a perfect time to talk win’s and losses.

Week 1: Sunday, September 10th @ the Titans

The Titans are a team very similar to the Raiders. With a young, ascending signal-caller already on the roster, the front office added a boatload of weapons around Marcus Mariota this offseason. They’re my favorite team to “breakout” this season. Their defense doesn’t scare anyone, much like Oakland, but I think you lean the home team in this one.


Week 2: Sunday, September 17th vs. the Jets

The Jets are the worst team in the NFL and I’m not sure it’s particularly close. The Raiders get a free bounce-back game at home.


Week 3: Sunday, September 24th @ the Redskins (Sunday Night Football)

National television. Still a weird feeling for a team that’s been in the basement for a decade or more.

Anyway, I think Carr out-duels Cousins in a game where there will be many, many points scored.


Week 4: Sunday, October 1st @ the Broncos

The Broncos’ defense is still one of the league’s best. Mile High is ready. One of many frustrating defensive collapses against a bad quarterback.


Week 5: Sunday, October 8th vs. the Ravens

Speaking of good defenses, I like the Ravens a lot.

We know this game was really close last year as well. Carr doesn’t have one of his signature performances but the Raiders’ manage to squeak one out at home.


Week 6: Sunday, October 15th vs. Chargers

The Chargers, similar to the Titans, are a team I’m higher on than most. I know they’ve been banged up early, but I think the talent is obviously there, and notably on defense.

Raiders’ drop a divisional game at home.


Week 7: Thursday, October 19th vs. the Chiefs (Thursday Night Football)

Brutal end to the three-week home stand.

This is the game, of course, that everyone has circled, and the game that causes “The Nation” to panic. Coming off a tough loss at home to the Chargers the weekend prior, on a short week, the Raiders fall to another AFC West team.


Week 8: Sunday, October 29th @ the Bills

Traveling across the country for an early kickoff after a demoralizing Thursday night performance. Not ideal.

If Shady McCoy is healthy, this game’s a bigger problem, despite the Bills being in the middle of a rebuild of sorts. In the end, we see Marshawn Lynch on the ground at his best to this point in the season, and on his pair of scores, the Raiders find a way.


Week 9: Sunday, November 5th @ the Dolphins (Sunday Night Football)

Another national spot for Oakland. I’ll be curious to see how Jay Cutler has fared through the halfway point of the season.

Can the Raiders’ contain Jay Ajayi? Another close, frustrating contest.


Week 10: Bye Week


Week 11: Sunday, November 19th vs. the Patriots (Mexico City, “home game”)

Tom is unstoppable.


Week 12: Sunday, November 26th vs. the Broncos

Splitting in 2017; Broncos can’t overcome poor quarterback play this time around.


Week 13: Sunday, December 3rd vs. the Giants

Coming off a close game, the Raiders’ don’t have an answer for the Eli-Odell connection, while the Giants’ secondary gives Carr some fits. There will be points, but nothing Oakland’s defense can do to stop the bleeding.


Week 14: Sunday, December 10th @ the Chiefs

It happened again. 0-2 vs. the team they had to play better against. Arrowhead is loud as hell.


Week 15: Sunday, December 17th vs. the Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)

Another challenging three-game stretch for the Raiders, capped off by a national television game against American’s Team.

Ezekiel Elliott runs all over Oakland.


Week 16: Monday, December 25th @ the Eagles (Monday Night Football, Christmas Game)

Back-to-back in prime time? Derek doesn’t let them lose this one.


Week 17: Sunday, December 31st @ the Chargers

Splitting with the Chargers, at their home, in a wild game to end the season on somewhat of a “high note”, I guess.


Final record prediction:


Let’s talk about it.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


9 thoughts on “2017 Schedule Review, Notes, and Prediction

  1. Why do u trust Reggie when he agrees with ur desire but insinuate the lapse are ineffectiveNess on his part.
    1. Draft picks are what they are potential help.
    2. LB is poor to the eye but until week 1 this is what u got…let a coach coach and wait and see.
    3.too many times a fan questions the capabilities of a aging vet but what the hell are the paid coaches watching to continue to put him #27 out there. So their idiots and ur the only genius who want to say I told u so. If u could run, cover and react u might be on the field urself.
    4.7-9 are u kidding me…building a winner isn’t done in one season and this is a process 10 wins on Carr’s ability alone/ offensive weaponry. But with gamesmanship/coaching and a defensive learning curve brings potentially 2 more wins….
    5. Yes I drank the Kool aid but when we were thirsty I was there so I can take the bumps and bruises. …

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more in your! Hope and faith our defense builds through the season. Our offense is going to be next to unstoppable

    2. I couldn’t agree with you more in your assessment ! Hope and faith our defense builds through the season. Our offense is going to be next to unstoppable

  2. Can’t argue with you. Almost impossible to replicate those close wins in repeat seasons. Lack of attention to defense is baffling to me, specifically LBs. Norton should have been replaced in off season and should have made a couple of moves in free agency to shore up second level D and middle of D line.

  3. This guy is insane the Raiders win 10 minimum potential to win 2-3 more . Thats all we need to get to post season. Then its a whole new ballgame. Quit being a hater take what we got and run with it..

  4. The Defense is….suspect to be sure. There are glaring holes in the middle and the secondary is young. Playing time is the only way anything gets fixed. Injuries happen every week. This is why they play the games. You or I didn’t see 12-4. I’ll hold on to your predictions as I did SI’s last year. And hopefully smile.

  5. They’ll split with the Chiefs and beat the Giants and Titans for 10-6. I too am worried about the defense. Sean Smith looked horrible in preseason. They need help in the secondary ASAP through trades, whatever. After that (at least a cornerback, please please), sign Atkinson III to the practice squad. Suggestion: get Shayne Skov. 49ers cut him, and yes, he’s small, but he’s a spark plug. He could come in when the defense is gassed and do something meaningful. We can’t do what we did last year with this defense.
    PS–I too am thrilled with Karl Joseph. Can’t wait to see him on a weekly basis.

  6. Hey “R-low”..what the hell you smokin’…!?? must be crazy foo.. 7-9 my a$$.. gtfoh hahaha.. Raiders 13-3 and that’s game!

  7. Our Dline looks better than last year. Vandy and Hester are better than Dan Williams was. MEJ is back on the end resulting the leagues lowest ranked DT going to the reserve role to learn the position like he should have last year. Malcolm Smith is replaced by Cory James who looked great this preseason. So I think that spot has a good chance of overall being an upgrade. Lee needs time and practice at leveraging himself but I think by week 8 he will hit his stride. So that spot is a wait and see. Irvin is solid. Joseph will be great. Nelson is Nelson so lets hope Shalom gets some playing time there lol. Our biggest concern is our corners. Will Smith bounce back after a bad offseason? Will Amerson return to form? Will Conley catch on quick or will he even play?

    Overall I don’t think we will be any worse than last year on D. We may have a slow start but I think we will stay around the same ranking if not a couple spots higher due to a better pass rush from the Dline as a whole. Our bottom is 9-7 while our high is 11-5 imo.

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