I don't believe that taxpayers in any city should have to pay several hundred million dollars so some rich NFL owner can get a new stadium and get even richer. I actually understand a bit more regarding a baseball stadium because that building will be used at least 81 times a year for regular-season games. An NFL team hosts, of course, eight regular-season games, and sometimes for teams like the Jags, who play a game in London each year, only seven.
So perhaps the citizens of Oakland should decide to build the A's a new stadium instead of the Raiders. Both play in the worst building in their respective sport -- and it happens to be the same one. I honestly don't even know what it's called these days as it seems to change by the hour.
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I mention this because the Raiders are ready to bolt town without the promise of a new building, and I don't see them getting it. Their two options are Las Vegas and Los Angeles. For the former, Raiders owner Mark Davis (who actually is probably the poorest owner in the NFL, not that he's eating Ramen Noodles) committed $500 million to a stadium. But reportedly a majority of Clark County, Nevada, voters oppose spending up $500 million in public funds to pay for that new stadium to entice the Raiders. The Chargers have first dibs on Los Angeles, but they have to decide by Jan. 17, 2017, if they will leave San Diego or have a new stadium there. If the Bolts stay put, the Raiders can then join the Rams in L.A.
My point being that this could be the Raiders' final season in Oakland, and it would actually be a shame now because this club looks ready to be really good behind QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper and DE/LB Khalil Mack. Most every expert also liked the Raiders' offseason. Charles Woodson retired and he'll be missed, but the team signed three top free agents in guard Kelechi Osemele, linebacker Bruce Irvin and cornerback Sean Smith. For years, no top free agents would even listen.
Oakland was 3-5 at home last season, 2-6 against the spread and 5-2-1 "over/under." The Raiders host four 2015 playoff teams this season. I project a 5-3 record. They have a wins total of 8.5 at BetOnline, with the over a -135 favorite. And I'd take that as I believe this is a 9-7 team. Oakland's strength of schedule is ranked as the 15th-toughest in the NFL with an opponents' combined 2015 winning percentage of .500. Odds listed below for the home team.
Sept. 18 vs. Falcons (-3.5): Oakland is off what should be a shootout Week 1 in New Orleans. Atlanta should be 1-0 as it hosts Tampa Bay in Week 1. It's two of the best receivers in Alabama history here in Cooper vs. Julio Jones. Raiders have dropped three straight in series. Key trend: Raiders 1-5 ATS all time at home vs. NFC South teams.
Oct. 9 vs. Chargers (-4.5): Raiders are in Baltimore the previous Sunday. San Diego is home to New Orleans in Week 4. Oakland beat the visiting Chargers 23-20 in overtime in Week 16 last year. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime. Carr threw for 204 yards and a TD. Latavius Murray rushed for 79 yards and a score. The Raiders were held to 281 yards and committed 16 penalties. Key trend: Raiders 2-8 ATS in past 10 as home favorite in series.
Oct. 16 vs. Chiefs (pick'em): First 2015 playoff team, home or away, of the season for Oakland. Kansas City comes off its bye week. Oakland lost 34-20 to Kansas City in Week 13 last season. Carr threw for 283 yards and two scores but also three fourth-quarter picks. Carr became the third Raiders quarterback since the team moved back to Oakland in 1995 to throw three fourth-quarter interceptions. The Raiders led 20-14 entering the fourth. Key trend: Raiders 3-7 ATS in past 10 at home in series.
Nov. 6 vs. Broncos (+1): Sunday night game and ahead of Raiders' bye. They are off a Week 8 trip to Tampa Bay. Denver is home to San Diego the previous Sunday. Oakland lost 16-10 at home to the Broncos in Week 5 last season. The Raiders were down just 9-7 midway through the fourth, but Carr was picked off by Chris Harris Jr., who returned it 74 yards for a score. Neither team had 300 yards of offense, and Oakland turned it over three times. Key trend: Raiders 2-8 ATS in past 10 as home dog in series.
Nov. 21 vs. Texans (-2): Monday night game in Mexico City, with Los Raiders off their bye. Houston is off a trip to Jacksonville in Week 10. The Texans won the last meeting 30-14 in September 2014. Wasn't really that close as it was 27-0 at one point. Key trend: Oakland is 0-5 ATS in its past five before a bye (any location).
Nov. 27 vs. Panthers (+3): Carolina is on extra rest as it hosts New Orleans on a Thursday in Week 11. Mack vs. Cam Newton! Literally the best individual defensive/offensive matchup I can think of, no offense to J.J. Watt. Raiders have lost past two meetings by same score of 17-6. Key trend: Raiders 5-5 ATS in past 10 as home dog of at least 3 points.
Dec .4 vs. Bills (-1.5): Nice to have three home games in a row, but obviously the Raiders will pay for that in the final four games. Buffalo is home to Jacksonville the previous Sunday. Oakland won just three games in 2014, and one was 26-24 at home in Week 16 vs. the Bills. Carr threw two touchdown passes, and Janikowski kicked four field goals. The Raiders allowed just 13 yards rushing, tied for their third fewest since the merger. Key trend: Raiders 8-2 ATS in past 10 vs. AFC East.
Dec. 24 vs. Colts (-1): Oakland off a trip to San Diego in Week 15. Indy is off a trip to Minnesota the previous Sunday. The Raiders have lost four straight in the series, last 21-17 Week 1 in Indianapolis. Terrelle Pryor was Oakland's QB that day. Key trend: Raiders 3-7 ATS in past 10 at home vs. AFC South.
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