Ex-Raiders LB K.J. Wright picks Las Vegas as team to beat in AFC West

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The NFL offseason is a prime time for predictions and this year, plenty of eyes are on the talent-rich AFC West.

When Ex-Raiders linebacker K.J. Wright was asked which team among the Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders will take the division this year, his answer was a surprise — unless you consider his last NFL stop, which was in Las Vegas last season.

While appearing on NFL Total Access, Wright said the Raiders are the team to beat at this point, though he presented a strong case.

He picked the Raiders in part because Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is no longer in the division. But it’s Las Vegas’ offseason moves that have the silver and black atop his list.

Here’s a video of his statement. He not only cites on-field additions WR Davante Adams and EDGE Chandler Jones, but he also mentions new coach Josh McDaniels. Plus, he credits the franchise for re-signing quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby.

I mentioned that Wright’s pick was a surprise. Though the Raiders have lofty expectations and an improved roster, competition in the AFC West promises to be fierce in 2022. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index predictive rating, Las Vegas has the lowest chance to win the division, at just 18 percent.

The Raiders are loaded with talented offensive-skill players, however, and figure to have an elite group of pass catchers for Carr. At this time of year, that carries a lot of weight with predictions. Las Vegas’ pass rush appears primed for another stellar campaign as well, led by Crosby and Jones.

But for Wright’s prediction to come true, the Raiders have to find answers along the offensive line. Besides left tackle Kolton Miller, there are a lot of question marks up front. If McDaniels can find a group that can block, there’s no reason Wright’s prediction can’t become reality.

So this is definitely not a case of a common credo in Las Vegas: “Once a Raider, always a Raider.” There are legitimate reasons for Wright to pick the Raiders as the top dog in the AFC West. Still, McDaniels is likely thankful there’s time to sort out the offensive line before it’s time to hit the gridiron in a tough division.

List

Here is when and where every game for the Raiders is during the 2022 season