Team » Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders enter the 2016 NFL season with a lot of intrigue, as they look to build off of a 7-9 2015 finish with a roster loaded with young talent. Raider Nation is one of the most passionate fan bases and will be happy to see a contender emerge in the "Black Hole" at the Oakland Coliseum. Quarterback Derek Carr continues to improve, and should take more steps forward in 2016. Carr's job is made easier by standout second-year wide receiver Amari Cooper, who went straight from Alabama to the Pro Bowl in his rookie debut. Look for these two to connect early and often for Oakland, with veteran receiver Michael Crabtree a formidable second option. Pro Bowler Latavius Murray was one of the most productive running backs last year, and he looks to bring even more alongside Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece. The Raiders offense could explode in 2016 behind all of this young talent. The Raiders have one of the league's best pass-rushing attacks behind All-Pro Kahlil Mack and Mario Edwards Jr. Longtime Raiders and Green Bay Packers star Charles Woodson's retirement will be a major loss in the secondary, leaving rookie first round pick Karl Joseph with big shoes to fill at safety. Joseph will have help from veteran safety Reggie Nelson, who leads a mostly unproven group. Defensive tackle Jihad Ward is another rookie expected to start on defense. The supremely athletic former Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin is looking to bring the "bully" mentality back to Oakland's defense. The AFC West will be a crowded division with the returning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and a tough Kansas City Chiefs team, but if the Raiders defense comes together and the offense continues to improve, there is no reason this team can't compete for a playoff appearance. One thing that is constant, The Black Hole will be raucous.