The Oakland Raiders WILL Win The AFC West This Year - Here's Why

The Oakland Raiders have been on the outside looking in at the NFL Playoffs dance for 12 seasons running, but the pieces are in place for a major Raider Nation come-up in 2015. Here are four reasons why the Raiders can win the AFC West and make the playoffs this year:

1) Derek F$%#ing Carr

Carr's rookie season is on the very shortlist for all-time best campaigns for a first-year quarterback, and that was with an extremely inconsistent rushing attack forcing him to throw it more often than not. With a rebuilt backfield and a revitalized receiving corps that features Amari Cooper, it's blue skies ahead for the most talented Raiders quarterback since Rich Gannon.

2) Khalil Mack And A Dominant Defense

Mack's primed and ready to take the full leap in 2015, and he'll have some talented veteran pieces around him to both help contribute and help mentor Mack on his path to superstardom. The sneakily good signing of former Saints LB Curtis Lofton will likely pay major dividends as he slots into a teaching role alongside the explosive Mack.

3) Mess Of A Division

The Denver Broncos are vulnerable if only because of eventual regression with Peyton Manning in the twilight of his career, and the Chiefs and Chargers taking a step back with a lack of overall talent. The opportunity is there for the Raiders to capitalize and have a breakout season.

4) Jack Del Rio's Hard-Nosed Approach

The Raiders responded well at times under interim head coach Tony Sparano last year, winning their last three home games against teams that were all on the playoff bubble at some point. Del Rio is a natural progression when it comes to backing up Sparano's calls for a tireless work ethic with a coaching philosophy that has bred success where ever he's gone.

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Related Topics: AFC West, Oakland Raiders, NFL