The Oakland Raiders haven’t finished above .500 since 2002, but that hasn’t stopped numerous NFL analysts, including Tyler Dunne, from predicting big things for the Silver and Black this season.
“I’ll tell you what. Being out there at Oakland, watching the Raiders up close, I’m buying into that hype,” the Bleacher Report NFL writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “This is a defense that is ready to take a Denver Bronco-like jump. To have two legitimate threats, Bruce Irvin on one side, Khalil Mack on the other side, a secondary that added Karl Joseph – there were no receivers open in any of the practices I saw there. And Derek Carr or whoever was at quarterback had next to no time to throw. I think this is a defense that could get to that next level next year. (There’s) a lot more young talent on the offensive side of the ball. I know every year there’s that one team that everybody talks about and they seem to let us down, but I’m buying stock in the Oakland Raiders. I think they’ll leapfrog Denver.”
That’s right, folks. Dunne believes that a team that hasn’t had a winning season in 13 years will finish ahead of the defending Super Bowl champions.
That’s quite a prediction.
“There’s just too many questions at quarterback for Denver,” Dunne said. “How does Mark Sanchez not run away from the pack? How is he not the clear starter as the veteran in that mix right now at this point? So the fact that they’re still kind of unsure there doesn’t really look good.”
It’s hard to argue with that. But can Oakland’s defense really be as good as Denver’s defense was last season? Can the Raiders really play at that historic level?
Dunne says yes.
“It’s early August and maybe I’m kind of hopping on the train a little soon here,” Dunne said, laughing, “but yeah, I think so. Khalil Mack, he may be the best defensive player in the game, and I don’t really think that’s hyperbole. You throw another threat on the other side, what do you do in pass protection against that? That’s the similar effect that Denver had against Carolina in the Super Bowl.”