Do the Raiders have the NFL’s most underrated defense?

The goal for the Raiders this season is to lean on their defense and their run game until they find adequate quarterback play. The good news is that they have the talent to execute that plan.

In a recent article by Pro Football Focus, they named one reason for optimism for every team heading into the 2024 season. For the Raiders, that was their young defense that continues to be underrated. Here is what the site had to say about that side of the ball entering the year:

Fortunes changed immediately for the Raiders last season when Antonio Pierce took over as the head coach. He knew his first task, of course, was to fix a defense that posted the fourth-worst EPA allowed per play through the team’s first eight games. Pierce commandeered an immediate turnaround that was, at times, startling to watch.

From Weeks 9 through 18, Las Vegas’ defense ranked ninth in overall grade, fourth in run-defense grade and fifth in EPA allowed per play. Maxx Crosby is perennially great, but major contributions from Malcolm Koonce, Jack Jones and Robert Spillane, among others, gave the Raiders new life on defense. There is hope the team can compete for a playoff spot this season despite a questionable quarterback situation.

The Raiders used the draft to upgrade their offense, but the addition of Christian Wilkins in free agency should make them even more dynamic on defense. If the Raiders can continue to play at a high level on defense, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they made the postseason in 2024.


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Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire