Oakland Raiders: Will They Contend in the AFC West?

In 2011, the Oakland Raiders almost won the AFC West. In 2012, they were nine games behind the Denver Broncos.

Oakland didn't contend at all in 2012, as it won a mere four games. The Raiders managed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they were 1-12 against teams with more than two wins. In addition, the Raiders lost seven games to teams with losing records, while the Broncos, Ravens and Bengals—all playoff teams—demolished the Raiders.

Carson Palmer quarterbacked the 2012 Raider team, and he racked up a solid number of passing yards (4,018 in about 14 games). However, he was extremely turnover-prone, and because of that the Raiders shipped him off to Arizona. Palmer threw 20 interceptions in 2007 and 2010, and was intercepted 30 times in 25 games with the Raiders.

Matt Flynn will be Oakland's 2013 quarterback. Flynn has thrown nine touchdowns in 141 career NFL passes, and he threw six touchdowns in a single game during the 2011-12 season. Flynn is an explosive quarterback who can get the ball in a tight window, but he is also turnover-prone.

As Raiders fans know from Palmer going 8-17 as a Raider, turnovers aren't good. Flynn has five interceptions in 141 NFL throws, which is one interception every 28.2 throws. Because the NFL is becoming more of a passing league, Flynn will likely throw more than 28 times per game. So, he's going to get intercepted a lot.

It doesn't help that Flynn, who was also intercepted 11 times in his final season at LSU, doesn't have tons of help around him on offense. If Darren McFadden gets hurt again, defenses will be able to key in on Flynn, which won't be good for Flynn and the offense. He doesn't have a great group of wide receivers, as there are lots of question marks surrounding Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, and late-round draft picks can't be counted on to perform like stars.

Having someone like Calvin Johnson would allow Flynn to take ...

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