3 NFL Sleeper Teams for Next Season

1. Oakland Raiders

3 NFL Sleeper Teams for 2016–17

Latavius Murray of the Oakland Raiders leaves the field in 2015 | Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders have somehow fallen well beneath the radar after several failed attempts to relocate. The game of musical chairs ended with the St. Louis Rams moving to Los Angeles, while the Chargers and Raiders stayed put in their same respective cities, leaving Las Vegas without an NFL franchise — still. The Raiders are far from the most popular attraction in their own town, with the Golden State Warriors coming off a 73-9 regular season and second straight trip to the Finals. The Warriors stole all of the headlines again this offseason, by reloading and signing Kevin Durant. Certainly, the Silver and Black will bristle beneath this blatant disrespect.

The Raider roster is stacked with young talent, in Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, and Derek Carr, who all have yet to even turn 25 years old. Last season, Mack racked up 15 sacks and went down as the first man in history to ever be named All-Pro at two positions (LB and DE). As a disruptive force, he has already been compared to the great Lawrence Taylor. Offensively, Carr should be simply giddy at the sheer firepower at his disposal. Cooper, as a 21-year old rookie, caught 72 balls for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns. He has already emerged as one of the better wide receivers in the game due to his precise routes and sure hands.

Cooper will work opposite of Michael Crabtree, who went for 85 receptions and 922 yards last season, in his own right. These outside threats will keep defenses honest, so that bruising back Murray can gash the opposition at the line of scrimmage. For 201617, expect Carr to complete 65% of his passes, for more than 4,000 yards, and 35 touchdowns. Oakland is ready to make a move out of the AFC West, with the Denver Broncos regressing sharply from last season’s Super Bowl run. Just win, baby.

Statistics courtesy of ESPN and Pro-Football-Reference.

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