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Oakland Raiders Poised For Breakout Season Despite Long Odds To Win AFC West

USA Today

USA Today

It has been a long time since the Oakland Raiders were relevant in the NFL. The storied franchise has struggled year after year following their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII back in January of 2003 without much hope for the future.

After many failed attempts to rebuild through the NFL Draft over the years, the Raiders may have finally started to turn the corner or at least are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Oakland brought presumably the future face of the franchise in the form of quarterback Derek Carr last season while also adding the new backbone of the defense in linebacker Khalil Mack.

Along with two solid additions to the rebuilding process in Oakland with Mack and Carr, the three-time Super Bowl champions were able to bring another promising young player this year in the form of rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper out of Alabama. Cooper is widely considered to have an immediate impact with the Raiders and may help propel them into the playoffs this season.

According to, the Raiders have the longest odds to come out on top in the AFC West division during the 2015 NFL season. Oakland currently sports 12/1 odds to win their first division title since 2002.

As expected, the defending AFC West division champion Denver Broncos are projected to win the division title for the fifth straight year with 5/7 odds. Denver is still expected to be an offensive powerhouse with veteran quarterback Peyton Manning under center in the Mile High City. Although Manning will be back for perhaps his final season in the league, the veteran did show signs of slowing down last year which could carry over this season potentially resulting in Denver losing their edge within the division.

The Kansas City Chiefs (3/1) and San Diego Chargers (24/5) are also sporting better odds than the Raiders heading into the 2015 campaign, but both teams have been anything but consistent over the past couple of years.

With the Raiders struggling for so long, the storied franchise rarely gets any recognition or credit for moves made when it comes to the oddsmakers. Adding Mack, Carr and Cooper to a decent group including Michael Crabtree, Lativius Murray, Justin Tuck, Charles Woodson and Marcel Reece isn’t a bad start, especially with new head coach Jack Del Rio leading the way.

The Broncos may very well come out of the division victorious once again this year, but don’t be surprised to see the Raiders creep up the division standings and possibly make a run at winning the AFC West this season.

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