Raiders Named Among ‘Dark-Horse’ Super Bowl Contenders

jon gruden

Getty Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders.

It’s been quite a while since the Raiders were in the Super Bowl. Since their 2002 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the big game, the team has only made the playoffs once and finished the season with a winning record once. However, it looks like the tides could be turning with the move to Las Vegas. The Raiders showed strong promise in 2019 and only added to their arsenal.

Per Caesars Palaces Super Bowl Odds, the Raiders are +3000 to win it all. Those are far from the worst odds and they could be a good bet. According to Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report, the Raiders are among some of the best “dark-horse” picks to win the Super Bowl:

The Las Vegas Raiders had a strong free-agency haul, but outside of linebacker Cory Littleton, their moves didn’t make a huge splash. That’s OK because the Silver and Black spread their money to cover multiple areas of need.

The team added strong defensive talent and some veteran leadership in free agency. It’s hard to imagine the Raiders are ready to contend for a Super Bowl just yet, but they aren’t as far as some might think.

The Raiders Are a WR Away From Fielding Elite Offense

According to Football Outsiders, the Raiders had the ninth most efficient offense in the NFL. They did that with an offensive line that was banged up a lot of the year and without a true number one wide receiver. Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller are elite talents who both showed that they could take over games last season. The offensive line can also be elite when close to full strength.

Derek Carr is a good quarterback whose ceiling is almost winning the NFL’s MVP award. All that’s missing is a top wide receiver. Tyrell Williams is a decent number two and Hunter Renfrow could develop into one of the better slot receivers in the NFL. If the Raiders can add a wide receiver who can take over games, they would have three elite offensive playmakers. There’s a very good chance the team adds CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy early in the draft. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine many teams will be able to stop the Raider offense.

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Raider Defense Should Be Much Improved

The Raider offensive was far from perfect last season, but it was the team’s defense that really held them back. They had a really hard time stopping opposing quarterbacks and they fielded one of the weakest linebacker corps in the NFL. Well, that will no longer be the case as the Raiders added two linebackers in free agency who can cover. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski should immediately make the team more competitive on defense.

The biggest red flag for the team is at cornerback. They let Daryl Worley walk and traded Gareon Conley in the middle of the season. They tried to sign Eli Apple but that fell through. That means they have yet to address the position in free agency. There aren’t a lot of cornerback options in the draft who will be ready to make an impact on day one. This will be a big weakness in 2020 and if they can’t figure out how to sure up the position, it’s unlikely they will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders just yet.

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