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The Raiders were outplayed by the Saints on Sunday, and now they’ll likely be out of the playoff hunt for a second consecutive year.
The Raiders are 9-4 after Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Saints, but the fact they are 7-3 in the regular season and currently in the playoff picture suggests they are not the dominant team that they were last season.
As the Raiders prepare to face the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, there are still some questions surrounding the franchise.
Oakland was able to keep a clean sheet despite facing the most potent offense in the NFL last season and it has a strong defensive core that has improved as the season has progressed.
But there are some questions that have yet to be answered about what went wrong and how the team will bounce back in a hurry.
How the Raiders will bounce right?
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is hoping his team can find their mojo after last season’s 7-9 finish.
He believes he and his staff have taken the first steps in the right direction.
“Our first steps were really good, our second steps were good, we’re starting to build the team back up,” Del Rio said.
“We’ll see what happens from there.
We’re working hard to get better and get better, and I’m confident we’ll get better.”
Del Rio has some key pieces in place to help him get the Raiders back on track, but he also has to keep his team focused on the long-term.
He said the Raiders need to address a few key areas of need and is looking to add a few more pieces to that list.
In addition to a new quarterback, the Raiders also need to add two pass-rushers in free agency.
They are also looking to improve their receiving corps, but that is something they’ll have to do for the first time since the end of the 2016 season.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have a lot of pressure on him to succeed, and he will have to continue to do what he does best, which is to run the football.
Carr finished the season with 5,066 yards and 19 touchdowns, and the Raiders could be looking for him to put that production on the scoreboard again in 2017.
Raiders WR Amari Cooper, the team’s top target last season, is not coming back.
He is not expected to be back until after the 2018 season.
Cooper was one of the Raiders top targets last season with 656 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Cooper, though, is expected to get another opportunity with a new contract coming up.
Cooper is not the only one who will be in line for a big payday.
It will be up to quarterback Derek Wilson to find his rhythm after he threw for 3,890 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017, but there is still some question about how his career will play out.
Wilson has been in the spotlight for much of his career.
He has won six Super Bowl rings with the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, and had one of his best seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.
But his NFL career has not been without issues.
Wilson has struggled with mental health issues in recent years, and his recent arrest for drunk driving in Arizona was not the first incident that has impacted his career in the past.
He also had to sit out the 2016 playoffs due to an ankle injury, a serious injury that he had been dealing with since his rookie season.
Carr has already shown signs of improvement, but a strong performance in the preseason and a win over the Cowboys could help him earn another shot.
Carr is in a unique situation as he will be playing for a new coach who has yet to have an impact on the Raiders’ success in his first year in charge.
Carr will be trying to prove that he belongs among the elite quarterbacks in the league, but his lack of success in the postseason could be an issue for his future in Oakland.
If the Raiders continue to play like they did last year, they will find themselves in the playoffs again in 2018.