Could Jon Gruden-led Raiders challenge Patriots’ AFC dominance?

Could Jon Gruden-led Raiders challenge Patriots' AFC dominance?

The NFL cherishes its offseason storylines, and most of these will revolve round the way forward for the New England Patriots’ dynasty.

Invoice Belichick turns 66. Tom Brady turns 41. New England coordinators Mike Patricia and Josh McDaniels reportedly are taking new jobs and Rob Gronkowski did not decide to his future after the Patriots misplaced 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles in Tremendous Bowl 52 on Sunday.

That is going to result in the same-old conjecture that the New England dynasty is finished, however that may’t be true till someone from the AFC steps up and ends that dominance.

The Oakland Raiders could possibly be that group in 2018.

Overlook the offseason. This might be the highest storyline of the 2018-19 postseason if the celebs align for that matchup. Think about if Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s return coincides with a playoff matchup in opposition to the Patriots – 17 years after theTuck Rule” recreation on Jan. 19, 2002, that’s thought-about the launch level for Belichick, Brady and eight Tremendous Bowl appearances.

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Would a Raiders’ victory knock down the remainder of the Patriots’ dominoes the AFC has been hoping would fall whereas concurrently renewing one of many NFL’s most-fabled franchises?

In fact, it is by no means that simple. The Raiders have been alleged to be that group final season, however that they had an inexplicable 6-10 end that resulted ultimately of Jack Del Rio’s three-year tenure. That got here one 12 months after Oakland’s solely profitable season for the reason that “Tuck Rule” recreation. Oakland went from up-and-coming contender to same-old-dysfunction with one foot pointed towards a relocation to Las Vegas.

However Gruden’s again now, and with that comes these expectations the franchise had after a 12-Four season in 2016 that was minimize brief by a Derek Carr harm. The Raiders have among the much-needed components now for long-term success. Normal supervisor Reggie McKenzie has constructed by way of the NFL Draft. Gruden hasn’t coached since 2008, however clearly noticed sufficient within the franchise to come back out of the comforts of the Monday Evening Soccer sales space. Carr is a franchise quarterback, and Khalil Mack is among the finest defensive gamers within the NFL. The cornerstones are there, however there are holes.

The Raiders ranked 25th in rush offense and 29th in turnover margin whereas rating among the many 10 worst defenses in getting off the sector on third down final season. Oakland nonetheless had a top-10 statistical protection, nevertheless, and Gruden is a recent set of eyes on an offense that ranked within the prime 10 in scoring in 2016. With a powerful draft and some key strikes, the Raiders can compete once more.

Is that sufficient for the Patriots? Not proper now, however watch carefully how New England adjusts with two new coordinators. The Patriots received three Tremendous Bowls with the Charlie Weis-Romeo Crennel mixture from 2001 to 2004. It took a decade to win one other one with the mixture of McDaniels and Patricia, and the last decade in between noticed instability at each of these teaching positions. With Belichick and Brady rather a lot older now, that might seemingly be the one potential crack as of now.

New England will likely be listed among the many prime Tremendous Bowl favorites so long as these two are collectively. Philadelphia’s victory in Tremendous Bowl 52 did not kill this dynasty, however someone from the AFC may take the following step in ending the Belichick-Brady period.

We have seen virtually everyone else within the convention strive. Denver, led by Peyton Manning, is the one AFC group to beat New England the final 5 seasons. Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston, Pittsburgh, Kansas Metropolis, Baltimore and Indianapolis have tried. The Steelers and Jaguars are higher bets proper now, however not by that a lot. We have seen all these films.

We would wish to see the one with Oakland once more with all these storylines intact. Might you think about if Gruden – who needed to watch that “Tuck Rule” replay so many instances whereas biting his tongue within the MNF sales space – will get his probability? Even higher for Raiders followers, what if it occurred in entrance of the “Black Gap?”

Understand that New England has performed simply seven street playoff video games by way of this dynasty, and the Patriots are Three-Four in these video games. It is both get them out of Foxborough or attempt to beat them in Foxborough.

Gruden’s Raiders have been the primary sufferer in 2001. Maybe they will get an opportunity for revenge within the 2018-19 playoffs.

Will it occur? The Raiders have a protracted strategy to go to make that occur, nevertheless it’s price holding on the radar.

Even when it would not, you gotta admit one factor. It makes for one hell of a storyline for 2018.