Las Vegas Raiders preview 2023: Over or under 7 wins? Chances to claim AFC West title?

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Las Vegas Raiders' Jimmy Garoppolo takes part during a practice at NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher)

It’s NFL team preview time, and today we’re looking at the Las Vegas Raiders. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 25 through Sept. 8, we will take an in-depth look at each team in the NFL with a 7- to 10-minute video going through impactful additions and departures, last year’s rankings and strength of schedule in 2023.

Home Field Sports analyst Jim Derry will then make a prediction on the team’s record this season and where they will finish in their respective division, along with the over/under win total, as posted at Caesars Sportsbook.

These stories are a brief summary of the accompanied preview videos – powered by the Dattitude Podcast (which will review each division every Friday until the season begins). The schedule for when each team will run is listed below with a link to each story and video that already has run.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Coach: Josh McDaniels (2nd season)

2022 record: 6-11, 3rd in AFC West; did not make playoffs.

Last season in a nutshell: There were plenty of expectations for the Raiders this same time last year, as quarterback Derek Carr entered his ninth season as the franchise quarterback – but this time he was joined by one of his college buddies, Davante Adams, who just so happened to be one of the league’s top receivers.

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. The team limped out to a 2-7 start, and by the time they seemed to figure things out by winning four of five, Carr was in the doghouse without an explanation, which was the start of upheaval in Vegas.

The offensive rankings were just fine (12th in passing, 17th in rushing and 12th overall) despite having one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, and Carr passed for 3,522 yards in 15 games with 24 touchdowns. And this was with new coach and offensive guru Josh McDaniels as their head coach.

But while the offense was inconsistent – scoring 32, 29 and 38 points in Weeks 4 through 7 and then 0 against the Saints in Week 8 and 20 the next two weeks vs. Jacksonville and Indianapolis – the defense generally underperformed throughout much of the season.

They ranked 28th overall in yards allowed and 26th allowed and created the fewest turnovers in the NFL. They gave up 500 or more yards in a game twice – at Seattle and vs. San Francisco – and allowed 30 or more points five times.

2023 bye week: 13

2023 Draft: 1 (7th overall) DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech; 2 (35) TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame; 3 (70) DT Byron Young, Alabama; 3 (100) WR Tre Tucker, Cincinnati; 4 (104) CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland; 4 (135) QB Aidan O’Connell, Purdue; 5 (170) S Christopher Smith, Georgia; 6 (203) LB Amari Burney, Florida; 7 (231) DT Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State.

Free-agent signings: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (from San Francisco), 3 years, $72.5M; WR Jakobi Meyers (from New England), 3 years, $33M; LS Jacob Bobenmoyer, 3 years, $3.19M; S Marcus Epps (from Philadelphia), 2 years, $12M; LB Robert Spillane (from Pittsburgh), 2 years, $7M; CB Brandon Facyson (from Indianapolis), 2 years, $6.5M; QB Brian Hoyer (from New England), 2 years, $4.5M; CB Marcus Peters (from Baltimore), 1 year, $3M; TE Austin Hooper (from Tennessee), 1 year, $2.75M;

What needs to go right: Read the free-agent comings and goings for this team, and it might take up most of your lunch hour. Although there are plenty of key remaining pieces, there are as many newcomers to go with a second-year coach who knows his feet – and his keister – are on fire.

So to answer the question, just about everything needs to go right. They’re not off to a good start with All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs holding out, and he doesn’t appear to be in a big rush to get back.

They spent a ton on Garoppolo, who some NFL fans absolutely love and some couldn’t love less. While entering his 10th season, he has played in as many as 12 games in a season just twice and more than six just three times. He has never thrown for more than 4,000 yards and has only thrown 2,500+ twice.

Is it simply to reunite the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator with the former New England Patriots backup quarterback? Hmmmmm.

In other words, the Raiders gave an awful lot of money to a guy who arguably could be called one of the least experienced 10-year quarterbacks in the history of football and one who has thrown passes in six career playoff games. Oh, and the reason why Vegas settled on Jimmy G? Their first choice, Aaron Rodgers, was traded to the Jets, and they had already moved on from Carr.

On the periphery, it seems like the Raiders have done enough to become relevant again, but are there too many things going on behind the scenes and not enough upgrades (or ANY upgrades) where they might have needed it most: the offensive line?

PREVIEW SCHEDULE / LINKS

AFC SOUTH

July 25: Houston Texans

July 26: Indianapolis Colts

July 27: Jacksonville Jaguars

July 28: Tennessee Titans

NFC WEST

Aug. 1: Arizona Cardinals

Aug. 2: Los Angeles Rams

Aug. 3: San Francisco 49ers

Aug. 4: Seattle Seahawks

AFC WEST

Aug. 8: Denver Broncos

Aug. 9: Kansas City Chiefs

Aug. 10: Las Vegas Raiders

Aug. 11: Los Angeles Chargers

NFC EAST

Aug. 15: Dallas Cowboys

Aug. 16: New York Giants

Aug. 17: Philadelphia Eagles

Aug. 18: Washington Commanders

AFC EAST

Aug. 22: Buffalo Bills

Aug. 23: Miami Dolphins

Aug. 24: New England Patriots

Aug. 25: New York Jets

NFC NORTH

Aug. 29: Chicago Bears

Aug. 29: Detroit Lions

Aug. 30: Green Bay Packers

Aug. 30: Minnesota Vikings

AFC NORTH

Aug. 31: Baltimore Ravens

Aug. 31: Cincinnati Bengals

Sept. 1: Cleveland Browns

Sept. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC SOUTH

Sept. 5: Atlanta Falcons

Sept. 6: Carolina Panthers

Sept. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sept. 8: New Orleans Saints

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