The Oakland Raiders were the best team in the AFC West for the majority of last season, and were unquestionably the favorites to win the division up until Raiders quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula in Week 16.
Here are three reasons why Oakland will right the ship in 2017, winning the AFC West for the first time since 2002.
No. 1, Khalil Mack and Derek Carr
If one is to start an NFL team, the first position one looks to fill is quarterback and then pass rusher. The Raiders, arguably, have the best young quarterback and pass rusher in the league with Carr and Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack.
Carr was in the MVP discussion until the moment he broke his leg whereas Mack actually won the defensive player of the year.
It is not out of the question for Oakland to have the MVP on offense and defense if both of them continue to improve at the rate they have been in the past three seasons.
In regards to the division, Carr is easily the best quarterback. Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers is nearing the end of his career and doesn’t have the same skill that he once had.
The Denver Broncos have decent quarterback Trevor Siemian, but he is nothing compared to Carr.
Every time the Raiders step on the field in an AFC West battle, they will have the better quarterback which gives them a major leg up. Not to mention, they will have the best pass rusher in the division, maybe even league, which gives them another advantage.
No matter the scenario, offense or defense, Oakland will have the best player on the field.
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.