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Just win, baby. That has been the motto for the Raiders for decades. But now, that phrase sounds more like a plea than a statement. The Raiders have not had a winning season since 2017 and have yet to make the playoffs since Jon Gruden returned to the franchise.
But is there a chance that the 2021 season is their year? Could things break perfectly for the Raiders to make a run and actually compete for a Super Bowl?
In a recent piece by Bill Barnwell of ESPN, he made the case for the Raiders actually making and winning the Super Bowl. Here is a quick snippet of his thoughts on the defense, that could be drastically better during the 2021 season:
“Have the Raiders finally fixed their defense? Jon Gruden’s offenses have been playoff-caliber over the last couple of years, but the much-maligned Vegas defense hasn’t been able to hold up its end of the bargain. Things might finally be different this offseason after adding coordinator Gus Bradley and players such as Yannick Ngakoue and Casey Hayward. Frankly, given that the Raiders have ranked 30th, 31st, 31st and 28th over the past four years in defensive DVOA, it really wouldn’t take much to mark stunning growth.”
If the Raiders could even be average on defense this year, this team would stand a really good chance of winning double-digit games. They ranked inside the top-10 in most offensive stats despite their red-zone woes. Now, they would still need some lucky breaks in order to win the Super Bowl, but a solid defense would get them a fighting chance.
A Super Bowl berth seems like a bit of a stretch for this team, but the playoffs? That feels like the right goal for the Raiders. Keep an eye on this defense early in the season as they will decide how far the Raiders can go in 2021.
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