2010 NFL: Despite “Sucker Punch,” The Oakland Raiders Are Still Contenders

Memo to all you defeatist Raider fans: Do the math.  Despite the loss to Pittsburgh, the Raiders still have the edge in the AFC West by being 3-0 in the division.

It seems as though the 2010 NFL season in the AFC West looks eerily similar to the way it looked in the 1960s.

Denver stinks, while San Diego, Oakland and Kansas City battle for first place.  Oakland's embarrassing loss to Pittsburgh was a sucker punch (reference to Richard Seymour intended).  Fortunately though, the loss will have little effect on tiebreakers because the Steelers are not a common opponent in the AFC West.

The Chiefs and Chargers have also experienced embarrassing losses, but rebounded.  The Raiders are no different.

Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has his flashes of brilliance, but then he also has his "deer in the headlights" moments. Backup Bruce Gradkowski usually provides a spark for the offense, but makes costly mistakes and has not proven himself as a bonafide winner.

The Raiders will likely spend the offseason trying to shore up the quarterback position, but until then, they'll just have to find other ways to win. There's more than one way to skin a cat, you know.

2011 Free agents: Kyle Orton, Chad Pennington, Michael Vick.  Pennington can win but he's always hurt.  The Eagles will likely tag Vick.  Orton is likely a system quarterback.  Draft: The Raiders will be without their first round pick.  Best solution: Shore up the offensive line (center, right guard) and hire a better position coach for the wide receivers.  Free agent Donald Driver would also provide a good veteran presence for a talented group of young receivers.

Obviously the AFC West is still very much up for grabs.  With the Raiders at 3-0 in the AFC West, the Raiders still have the edge.  The next three weeks should create separation, though. 

The Rai...

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