Josh McDaniels’ debut season as Las Vegas Raiders head coach was uninspiring, and there’s reason to believe his sophomore season might put him in the early hot seat, again.
The Raiders started last season 1-4 heading into their Week 6 bye, and fans questioned if McDaniels had what it took to be a good head coach. Even after Las Vegas continued to blow double-digit leads on a historic feat, owner Mark Davis backed McDaniels, and the Raiders missed the postseason after making the playoffs the season prior.
Derek Carr was run out of town. Las Vegas couldn’t recruit Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and it will roll out Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a season-ending foot injury last year, to start the season at quarterback.
Garoppolo wasn’t the only former New England Patriots player the Raiders brought in. They brought in so many that it would be tough to list and would make the Houston Texans jealous. The player recruitment might get brought up when McDaniel’s era in Las Vegas ends, which is a scenario that might become a reality this season based on the futures market.
McDaniels is 30-to-1 to win Coach of the Year at FanDuel Sportsbook. This is tied for third-worst odds with prominent head coaches like Bill Belichick, Kyle Shanahan and John Harbaugh, who aren’t likely to lose their jobs.
Looking deeper, the Raiders are 17-to-1 to win the AFC West. The Denver Broncos are 6-to-1, so the market clearly sees a clear gap between sides that finished as the worst teams in the division last season. The sides open the season against each other at Empower Field at Mile High, serving as a big test for Las Vegas.
The Raiders finished 6-11 last season, and their win total is set at 6.5 with the over at +108 and the under at -138. It’s hard to see them finishing better than last season. Las Vegas is 18-to-1 to be the last winless team and 13-to-1 to have the worst regular season record. Those prices could be worth sprinkles despite other teams projected to be worse than the Raiders.
They play the NFC North and AFC East along with their divisional games. They also have a third-place schedule featuring matchups against the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, and they have the New York Giants as the extra opponent on their schedule.
There are just too many toss-ups for a team with a weak offensive line and secondary. Josh Jacobs still is holding out after the first preseason game, and if Garoppolo gets hurt, Las Vegas will have to turn to Brian Hoyer or fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell.