Long Version, Short Version
The thing is, I don't think the Raiders were going to get any better then 8-8 under Al Davis' guidance.
Originally Posted by dbacknick
The long version?
2010? The Raiders were 6-0 in the AFC West, but they also had a few attrocious losses. They were blown out against Tennessee, San Francisco (worst 8 point loss in the history of the NFL) Pittsburgh and Miami. The only 'playoff' team they beat outside of the AFC West was Seattle, a team that went 7-9 in the regular season.
2011? The Raiders went 3-3 against the AFC West, and won 4 games against non-playoff teams -- New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Chicago. The only playoff team the Raiders beat, aside from Denver, was Houston... and we all know that game was a bit of an outlier.
Recall the losses of the '11 Raiders - blown out against New England, blown out against K.C. at home -- admittedly difficult circumstances, thanks to Kyle F*ing Boller -- second half collapse against the fightin' Tebows, blown out against Miami, Green Bay and then, worst of all, blown out against San Diego, to end the season, with a playoff birth on the line.
Let's now consider the 2012 team. Oakland has lost seven games, but of those - Denver, Atlanta, Tampa, Baltimore and New Orleans are all in the mix for a playoff run and playing very good football right now. Not surprisingly, the Raiders have lost to all of those teams. In fact, the Raiders BEAT Pittsburgh, though they've had the odd 'upset' here and there since '02.
Yes, that includes blow-out losses to Miami, Denver, Baltimore and New Orleans... but there were games when Oakland was blown out last year!
To everyone who thinks that Oakland has taken some massive step back from the 'glory days' after two 8-8 years... I'm left wondering if the past two years were less high-quality Raider teams and more low-quality opponents.
Those 8-8 records were mostly due to good schedules - the Raiders have been losing games in a similar fashion for years, and this year, it just looks worse. Oakland has suffered at least 4 blow-out losses in each of the past two seasons; they were blown out in consecutive weeks against Green Bay and Miami.
The short version?
The Raiders had easy schedules in 2010 / 2011, and it's not surprising that they look 'terrible' after a stretch of playing 3 consecutive playoff caliber teams.
The '10 and '11 squads weren't as good as they seemed; the '12 squad isn't as bad as it seems.
IMO, they'll finish with 6-8 wins this year. The schedule gets easier from this point forward.