It'd be wise to expect the unexpected this NFL season. That might be why Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated went with a bold selection for his under-the-radar team that could make a run to the Super Bowl.
Three seasons ago, Breer called the Philadelphia Eagles making a championship run. He fell in love with the team's depth and overall talent in the trenches. It appears he has found a similar match for the 2020 season.
Breer believes the Las Vegas Raiders will be a "sleeper" team this fall. Last season, Jon Gruden kept the team in playoff contention until the very end of the year. The next step for the franchise is getting back into the postseason.
Las Vegas has loaded up on young talent over the past two drafts. In 2019, the front office selected a plethora of playmakers on both sides of the ball. General manager Mike Mayock selected an elite running back in Josh Jacobs, pass-rushing duo in Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, and slot receiver in Hunter Renfrow.
The Raiders then doubled down on its philosophy of adding playmakers this year by adding Damon Arnette, Lynn Bowden Jr. and Henry Ruggs III. Perhaps that young nucleus could catapult the team into the playoffs.
From Sports Illustrated:
You have promising young guys (Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, Mo Hurst, Kolton Miller) and steady vets (Trent Brown, Rodney Hudson, Richie Incognito, Carl Nassib), that give both groups a good deal of upside. Add that to Mike Mayock’s banner draft class of 2019 that should get better, and get potential star safety Johnathan Abram back, and I think Jon Gruden can keep a team that contended for three months last year in it all the way.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, they share a division with the Kansas City Chiefs. It'll be incredibly tough to dethrone Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West.
The Raiders will kick off the 2020 season on the road against the Carolina Panthers.