Bold AFC West predictions: Why the Raiders will only win 1 more game in 2023

Our midseason series of AFC West predictions takes a look at the Raiders' interim fortunes.
New York Giants v Las Vegas Raiders
New York Giants v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Right now, the Las Vegas Raiders are a surprising 4-5 overall—a near-.500 team somewhat within spitting distance of a fringe roster spot. It's quite remarkable to consider their overall position in the AFC West (second) and beyond given that they're also the only NFL team to have fired its head coach thus far in 2023.

The Raiders even feel a bit of momentum at this point. Antonio Pierce is clearly more popular in the locker room as an interim coach than the man he replaced, Josh McDaniels. And Pierce is 1-0 as head coach after taking out the New York Giants in Week 9. But let's not be fooled here: the Raiders are not a good football team and they're definitely not going anywhere this season (but home in early January).

Beyond their win over NYG (which was impressive given its 30-6 final), the Raiders have beaten the Denver Broncos by 1 point to start the season, the Green Bay Packers by four in Week 5, and the New England Patriots by the same in Week 6. The most credible win came against Bill Belichick's team, of course, but even they look miserable at times depending on the opponent.

Here's the rest of the schedule for the Raiders, which is not at all kind to Pierce and company:

  1. New York Jets
  2. @ Miami Dolphins
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. BYE
  5. Minnesota Vikings
  6. L.A. Chargers
  7. @ Kansas City Chiefs
  8. @ Indianapolis Colts
  9. Denver Broncos

The Jets are not good but they're also not as bad as the Raiders, and Robert Saleh's defense should take care of Las Vegas to win. The Vikings are vulnerable without Kirk Cousins, but they're still fighting for this year. The Colts are the worst team on this list, but they're feisty as hell. The Chargers and Broncos are rivals and those games can go any way, but they're both more talented than the Raiders.

It'd be easy to disagree here, but I think the Raiders have four wins at the halfway point but will end up with only five. Pierce's win was a nice story but this season will slowly unravel for the Raiders by the bye and they'll get one more victory (take your pick) before falling to 5-12 and another miserable finish before rehiring new leadership this spring.