The 2016 season was one hell of a roller coaster for Oakland Raiders fans. Heading into the year, expectations ranged anywhere from a slight improvement to guaranteeing a playoff spot. But almost no one predicted that the team would be one of the best in the league, with a DPOY and MVP candidate and would only lose to three teams all season long, one of which made it to the Super Bowl.
Because of the dramatic change in expectations mid way through the year, I decided to write predictions based on the change in expectations just over half way through the season. Now that the year is over and we are in recap mode, let’s see how I did:
1) Raiders make it past the Wild Card round of the playoffs
Welp, as we all know, this one didn’t happen. But I’m not too upset with the prediction itself. Obviously, the prediction doesn’t take into account Derek Carr breaking his leg. And if Carr doesn’t break his leg, I think the chances of them making it past the Wild Card round would’ve been very, very good. If Carr doesn’t get hurt, there’s a good chance they win the AFC West and automatically advance past the Wild Card round. And if they didn’t, I believe that the Raiders with Carr are a much better team than the Texans were.
2) Raiders pass rush takes off, ends up in top ten of league in sacks
Boy oh boy, this one couldn’t have been more wrong. When I wrote it, the Raiders were 23rd in the league and both Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were starting to step up their play. As those two went off, I assumed others on the defense would step up their games as well. I was wrong. The surge in sacks ended soon after the predictions were written and as we all know, they finished last in the league in sacks.
3) Raiders get six players named to the Pro Bowl (Not as alternates)
Finally I get one right! The Raiders didn’t just have six non alternate Pro Bowlers, they had seven! And while a number of those guys dropped out of the Pro Bowl due to injuries, the prediction still stands as a winner. It’s not whether the guy plays in the game that matters. It’s whether coaches, players and fans viewed him of being worthy of playing in the game. And seven Raiders were deemed worthy: Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Kelechi Osemele, Reggie Nelson, Rodney Hudson, Amari Cooper and Donald Penn.