Raiders Week 1 Outlook: 5 Things To Look For Against The Bengals

The Oakland Raiders will host the Cincinnati Bengals in their season opener on Sunday, and the Raiders are hoping to get off to a good start under new head coach Jack Del Rio. Here are five things to look for in the matchup:

5) Can Derek Carr live up to expectations?

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.

4) Will Khalil Mack take his dominance to another level?

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) What effect will Jack Del Rio have on the Raiders on the field?

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 whereever he's gone.

2) How improved is the running game?

We are interested to see just how Oakland's overhauled running game will spell a passing attack that was stretched beyond its limits last year. Latavius Murray has all the tools to be a true feature back and stepped up down the stretch last year, while Roy Helu Jr. is a good change-of-pace option. The Raiders are counting on big production from these two guys to help balance their offense.

1) How will Amari Cooper look in his debut?

Cooper is viewed as a sure bet to be the most pro-ready rookie receiver since Julio Jones and A.J. Green, and the Raiders are expecting big things from him right away. Look for him to get a lot of opportunites to make his mark early against the Bengals.

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