Just grin, baby.
WHY THEY'RE GOOD
-With Darrelle Revis continuing to be left wanting, the Raiders have the league's best corner in Nnamdi Asomugha. He's so good that teams just stop throwing to his side at all. This season Asomugha will be exclusively tailing opponent's No.1 receivers, so bad times abound to those destined to play the man.
-Jason Campbell isn't Jim Plunkett reincarnate, but he's ten-times the quarterback JaMarcus Russell was. He's not going blow teams away, but he won't spend every waking minute plotting Vegas trips or raiding (eh?) local pharmacies. Oakland now has a bonafide quarterback, one who actually is serious about playing the position. That is the saddest thing I have ever had to type about football.
-Tight end Zach Miller's 66 catches led the team last year. Campbell likes to throw to his tight ends (see: Cooley, Chris) and Miller has been taking hot, stinky, garbage and making lemonade with it for a few seasons now. It's a match made in heaven, yet set in hell. Who-da thunk it?
-Tyvon Branch is on the cusp of becoming one of the league's best at strong safety. His 123 tackles were tops at the position and the team is high on his future. You might even say that they're going out on a limb for Branch?
-Richard Seymour was re-signed in the offseason. After being traded from New England last season, he kept the low profile that all Oakland acquisitions usually assume, but he played well. The team needs his seniority and leadership now that they're switching to a 4-3 defense, and are asking Seymour to play inside at tackle. With rookie Rolando McClain slotted to start at middle linebacker, having Seymour playing in front of him isn't the worst thing in the world.
WHY THEY'RE BAD
-The team is rife with potential busts (sans Robert Gallery, who's made a successful transition to guard)*. Michael Huff is one more terrible season from being shown the door, as he's had but four interceptions in four seasons. Asomugha can only do so much for the secondary, Huff has to assume some playmaking responsibilities if there's to be any improvement.
-Darrius Heyward-Bey was abysmal last season. Now he's being accused of "over-training" himself in offseason and had to rest for four days of training camp. And yet, Al Davis looks like he hasn't slept since 1980.
-If Darren McFadden can't find a way to stay healthy then he's superfluous. Michael Bush has shown promise as the No.1 option at running back and Run DMC may find himself without a job. Oakland though, desperately needs McFadden to justify his high expectations. With him healthy, their offense takes on a whole new dimension. The kind that requires special glasses.
-Management is dysfunctional, and that's putting it kindly. Tom Cable's violent encounters make you wonder how he kept his job (is he hitting you, Al? You can tell me). Though it is the Raiders, it's not really an example you want set in front of the players. Maybe worse, if my information is correct, Al Davis is still in charge of the team.
INCORRECT PREDICTION: 6-10, THIRD IN AFC WEST
*If you don't count spending a No.2 draft pick on a guard bust-worthy.