Predicting the AFC West: The Oakland Raiders Will Be Relevant in 2010

Today, I start the anticipated NFL predictions for the 2010 season. After carefully reviewing the teams and their schedules, I decided to wait until the middle of preseason to make my picks. Today, we start off with the AFC West.

The AFC West has been ruled by the Chargers for quite a few years, with no team being able to match them within the division. However, can a new team begin to close a gap on the Chargers?

With an offseason filled with stars holding out or being traded, San Diego is not the dominant AFC favorite they were a few years ago.

Can anyone take over the division in 2010? Here are the first predictions of 2010, starting with the AFC West.

1. San Diego Chargers: In 2010, the Chargers will still be the best the AFC West has to offer. Quarterback Philip Rivers has Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, and Darren Sproles to still throw to, thus being a top-10 offense this season.

The biggest question is on the defensive side overall. However, San Diego benefits from an easy schedule where they don't have to face to many top quarterbacks in 2010.

Prediction: 11-5

2. Oakland Raiders: As mentioned in the title, the Oakland Raiders are going to be relevant to everyone besides Raider Nation in 2010.

They finally have established Jason Campbell as the starter, having confidence he will be the leader for the entire 2010 season. The receiving corps is young, but continuing to make strides under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.

My key player to watch is Darren McFadden. It's time for him to prove he can be more than a Reggie Bush type player on the NFL level. If he can help balance out the passing game, the Raiders are a threat on most teams' schedules.

The defense is a middle of the pack unit. But led by Nnamdi Asomugha, the pass defense is a respectable one that is going to be even better in 2010.

I originally thought Rolando McClai...

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