In ESPN’s Power Rankings for the start of the regular season, the Oakland Raiders are being shown some love, just missing the top ten by one spot.
Oakland starting the year off ranked 11th is the highest the team has been ranked by ESPN at the beginning of a season since 2002, when they began the year ranked 6th. 2002 is the farthest ESPN’s Power Ranking database tracks.
Here is the blurb associated with the ranking:
“Anyone who thinks Derek Carr’s 2015 season might have been a one-time thing will probably have to wait at least a week to feel vindicated. Carr faces a Saints team that allowed the worst NFL passer rating in league history last season.”
“The Raiders? Ranked 11th? Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack have our voters intrigued, but — not to sound cliché — they still have to learn how to win. The Raiders had an NFL-worst minus-60 point differential in the fourth quarter last season.”
There are some interesting observations that can be made from Oakland’s ranking. For example, the only teams ranked ahead of the Raiders are teams that were all 10-6 or better in 2015.
In fact, you have to scroll down to 15th to find another team that had a losing record in 2015, and that is the 5-11 Baltimore Ravens. This clearly shows the hype the Raiders have generated, which the team has to prove is warranted.
The Denver Broncos are 8th, the Kansas City Chiefs are 9th and the San Diego Chargers are 26th.