Oakland Raiders’ Young Core Still Not Ready to Topple Top Competition

The Oakland Raiders have teetered at or around the .500 mark for the entire season with rave reviews on their growth and potential to contend for a playoff spot sweeping the NFL landscape in recent weeks.

Starting Monday morning, Raider Nation must brace itself for the wave of skeptics following an embarrassing home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s prepare for what the critics may dig up on this year’s team.

San Jose Mercury News writer Tim Kawakami addressed the strength of Oakland’s schedule:

The Raiders have only beat one winning team, the New York Jets. They’re accumulating victories against non-playoff contenders, which depreciates the quality of wins. Although, it’s safe to say the Raiders are no longer at the bottom of the barrel.

Second, look at the teams that beat the Raiders—three division leaders (Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Vikings) and a wild-card team (Pittsburgh Steelers). Oakland’s only loss to a sub-.500 club (Chicago Bears) came on the road on the back end of consecutive games on the East Coast. 

In a postgame press conference, head coach Jack Del Rio told local reporters this team will take its lumps: 

As Oakland flirted with an above .500 record, hopes for a wild-card spot reached an all-time high. However, let’s not forget there’s more growing and more lumps to take before standing toe-to-toe with division leaders. This doesn’t mean Oakland cannot make a playoff push, but the road will remain rocky.


Commitment to Excellence

Despite the Vikings' paltry passing offense, any resistance from the Raiders secondary deserves some recognition.

Oakland's pass defense held Teddy Bridgewater to 140 passing yards, and none of his receivers caught more than two passes. 

Yes, it’s a small vict...

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