Oakland Raiders: Defensive Preview – Can Khalil Mack and Co Rise Up?

The Oakland Raiders are an offensive juggernaut but their defense, well, that is another story. The Raiders goal in 2016 was to outscore their opponents and pray their defense can make enough stops to seal the deal. It worked until Derek Carr went down with an injury in Week 15. However, once they were exposed, the chips came falling down.

For the Raiders to enter the realm of the New England Patriots, they must first find a way to tackle.

The Raiders ranked 26th in the NFL in total defense. A team with Super Bowl aspirations cannot be this low and actually expect to be a serious contender. It is time for the Raiders to look to their Captain, Khalil Mack to help them make that turn the Denver Broncos did or what Ray Lewis was able to do for the Baltimore Ravens.

If Mack can up his game, the others will follow. It is as easy as that.

What is stunning about the Raiders defense is that they play in a division with only one true ‘air it out’ quarterback. There is no reason for the likes of Alex Smith or Trevor Siemian to manhandle this defense. What must happen is more pressure on the QBs. The Oakland Raiders racked up a league worst 25 sacks last season as QBs had endless amounts of time to find open receivers.

As bad as the Oakland Raiders were against the pass, they were equally bad against the run. They ranked 23rd in the league versus the run. Opposing teams averaged 117 yards per game against them.

With the Raiders getting an overhaul on the defensive side this offseason, many expect a complete turnaround. If the front seven can provide pressure that will make life easier for the secondary, which in turn will keep their offense on the field and their defense, off.

2016 is over and 2017 looks promising but only time will tell.

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