Kickoff season previews  


Raiders have confidence with Campbell under center

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Oakland Raiders

2009 record: 5-11 (Third in AFC West)
Bucky Brooks
While Tom Cable and Co. fall short of their playoff goal, a solid overall performance becomes the foundation for resurgence in Oakland.
Prediction:  8-8, second in AFC West
Vic Carucci
Jason Campbell dramatically improves an offense that was desperate for competence under center. The draft makes the defense instantly better.
Prediction:  10-6, second in AFC West
Pat Kirwan
A better QB situation than they've had in years and Richard Seymour and Jon Henderson strengthen defense. Al Davis appears to be letting Tom Cable coach.
Prediction:  8-8, second in AFC West
Jason La Canfora
Major upgrades at QB and to the coaching staff. One of the biggest DLs in the NFL and quality individual talent. They finally start to jell.
Prediction:  9-7, second in AFC West
Michael Lombardi
The Raiders are improved but concerns about their depth and offensive line keep them from a playoff team.
Prediction:  7-9, third in AFC West
Steve Wyche
Jason Campbell might not post great numbers but steady is all they need. Michael Bush is due for a nice season. Nnamdi Asomugha will earn his $15 million.
Prediction:  8-8, second in AFC West
JaMarcus Russell's passer rating during his three years with the Raiders. With Russell out of the picture, Jason Campbell is being viewed as a savior of sorts in Oakland.
Darren McFadden
The third-year pro was drafted to give the Raiders a difference-maker in the backfield, but he has struggled. Plagued by nagging injuries and mental miscues, McFadden is in jeopardy of seeing his role significantly diminish with the emergence of Michael Bush. Although the Raiders still view him as a big-play threat, the onus is on McFadden to finally live up to the lofty aspirations.
Jason Campbell
The underappreciated Campbell brings stability, consistency and leadership to the Raiders. Although he was viewed as a disappointment in Washington, Campbell's conservative game has resulted in a solid completion percentage (61.2) and passer rating (82.3) during his five-year career. As a solid decision-maker with sound instincts, Campbell rarely forces throws into coverage, and his avoidance of the big mistake fits in well with the Raiders' run-heavy attack. While he will be expected to generate explosive plays in the passing game, simply keeping his team in games will be a step in the right direction for the Silver and Black.
Choose Bush over McFadden
Darren McFadden might be considered the more valuable fantasy option due to his lofty draft position in 2008, but Michael Bush could end up being the better option. A fantasy sleeper, Bush is more durable than McFadden and has shown far greater statistical potential in the NFL.
Three pivotal games
Sept. 12 at Tennessee
The Raiders have lost every season opener en route to having seven straight losing campaigns. So what better way -- in a season in which a reversal is expected to take place -- to begin the change then to turn things around from the get-go. This will be a heck of an NFL intro for first-round LB Rolando McClain, who has the task of containing Chris Johnson.
Oct. 10 vs. San Diego
The Chargers have won four consecutive AFC West titles, and San Diego has had a stranglehold over the Raiders during that time. San Diego has won 13 straight against Oakland, dating back to 2003. The Raiders hold the advantage in the all-time series, 54-44-2. But that doesn't mean squat for a team looking to make a statement in the division.
Nov. 21 at Pittsburgh
You know you have an intense rivalry when the teams resort to litigation. That's what happened in 1977 when Raiders DB George Atkinson filed a $2 million suit against the Steelers. The rivalry has quelled over the years, but this will be the sixth time these teams face off since 2000. The Steelers were one of the five teams the Raiders beat last season -- in Pittsburgh no less.



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