The National Football League has a rising power in the deserts of Las Vegas. Not far from the Strip, the Raiders are closing in on not just being a contender for an AFC West title, but also making a legitimate run at Super Bowl LVII.
Las Vegas will need to fight their way through a jungle that includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos. All have MVP candidates at quarterback, and all can lay claim to a championship run.
For the Raiders, it all begins with Derek Carr. Carr, who has been the teams triggerman since 2014, will be asked to carry the load out of the West and into Super Bowl contention. He compiled a solid statistical line in 2021, with 428 pass completions, on 626 attempts for 4,804 yards. The result led to 23 touchdowns.
Carr, who did get Las Vegas to the playoffs last season, was 0-1 in his postseason debut. He completed 29 passes on 54 attempts. For the game, he had one touchdown through the air and one interception.
It is worth noting that his career with the Raiders does include a playoff appearance in 2016 while the team was still in Oakland, but he did not play due to an injury.
Extra credibility in Las Vegas comes with the addition of Josh McDaniels as head coach. McDaniels, who was incredibly successful while serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the New England Patriots, will be a huge asset to Carr.
Raiders hire Josh McDaniels as new head coach. pic.twitter.com/EqGzr7TE19
— NFL (@NFL) January 31, 2022
McDaniels joined the Patriots in 2001 as a personnel assistant. From 2002 to 2003, he served as a defensive coaching assistant for New England. In 2004, he became the team’s quarterbacks coach, after offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left the team following the 2004 season to be the head coach at Notre Dame. The Patriots named McDaniels as their offensive coordinator in 2005.
According to The New York Times, it was McDaniels who called the offensive plays for that 2005 season. McDaniels was officially promoted to offensive coordinator, while also retaining his responsibilities coaching the team’s quarterbacks.
What all this adds up to is the Las Vegas Raiders being a solid bet for the Super Bowl this season. Granted, the AFC West is the best division in all of football and the slugfest in the 2022 season will certainly create some battle scars that are sure to have a positive result. Especially when they lift the Lombardi Trophy in Glendale at season’s end.