As the NFL embarks on the second half of its 2015 regular season, the Raiders sit comfortably in second place in the AFC West and are improving as a team, particularly on defense.
Here’s a snapshot of the changes in the Raiders BES numbers from Week 2 to Week 8:
As shown above, the Raiders opened the season at No. 22 in BES Overall in our inaugural Week 2 BES Rankings. Meanwhile, they placed dead last in BES Defense with an abysmal score of 1.62. Since then the unit has enjoyed a gradual climb to respectability, ranking 15th in BES Defense with a score of 2.55 in our Week 8 BES Rankings.
Offensively, the Raiders have been a mainstay among the Top-15 in BES Offense throughout the season but their numbers have declined recently.
That decline is due primarily to lackluster showings against the Bears (2-5) in Week 4 and the Broncos (7-0) in Week 5. However, if they continue to average 35.5 points per game like they have since returning from their Week 6 bye, then their BES Offense ranking will certainly rise.
As a team, the Raiders have ranked between No. 14 and No. 15 in BES Overall but they are currently enjoying a two-game winning streak. The Raiders undoubtedly hope to extend that streak with a third win on the road against the Steelers (4-4) in Week 9. Such a victory would potentially propel them up the BES rankings and possibly into the Top-10.
Nonetheless, for over a decade the Raiders were an afterthought in the AFC West. From 2003 to 2014, the Raiders averaged a mere five wins per season. However, with a potent offense and a defense that is gaining strength, it appears the Raiders are going to dramatically change all of that this year.