Raiders season prediction: 4-12

Not much is expected of the Oakland Raiders in the eyes of most observers, and I can’t disagree.

There just isn’t enough talent in Oakland. The Raiders are beginning a rebuilding phase and there are lot of holes on the roster. This is a club that is counting on late-round draft picks to contribute at key spots. That is not a good sign for the immediate future. There are few areas Oakland can feel completely confident in.

There are questions about whether Oakland can successfully throw the ball with Matt Flynn, who is entering his first year as a starter at the age of 28. He has started just two NFL games in his career. The Oakland offensive line is in shambles and there are serious worries about how much protection Flynn will get.

Defensively, Oakland should be better in the back seven than it was last year. But it is unlikely to be an upper-level defense. Oakland has major issues at pass-rusher, and if no one develops as a serious sack threat, it will create issues for the defense as a whole.

Thus, there are too many question marks to think that Oakland can win much more than 25 percent of its games as the new era takes shape. This might be a good franchise in a couple of years, but I see a second straight 4-12 finish.

Predicted finish in AFC West: fourth