OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Bruce Irvin #51 of the Oakland Raiders reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Rams during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 10, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As the start of the NFL season approaches, many people are considering just who can contend for the Super Bowl this season. The main contenders include the defending champions the Philadelphia Eagles, their fellow finalists the New England Patriots and teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. However, one team that is lurking out West, with no one talking about them, is the Oakland Raiders, and could they prove to be a dark horse this season and contend?

The Raiders are not great defensively, and this is something that will concern fans going into the new season. They are going to need players to excel and play better than we thought was possible, but that isn’t completely out of the question. However, when you look at their offensive weapons, it is easy to think they will score a lot of points this season, and that alone aids them in their challenge.

They have experience all over the field, and one strong area for them is the running back position. Here Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin will split duties. Both have huge experience and it is probably fair to say that they need each other this season; neither would be capable of driving this team forward alone. They have been there and done it, they understand the league and should give Oakland a very good ground attack to use when Derek Carr isn’t throwing the ball.

Another key experienced figure will be the new wide receiver, Jordy Nelson. He comes in from the Green Bay Packers and gives the Raiders that all important second weapon in the air, keeping the focus on star man Amari Cooper as low as possible. Carr has great chemistry with Cooper and, if he can find the same with Nelson, all of a sudden, the Raiders will have two strong ground threats and two strong threats in the air.

The latest NFL betting has the Raiders as big as 50/1 to win the Super Bowl this season, which is very surprising to see. They have multiple players who can threaten offensively and Derek Carr is a top end quarterback who can get the ball to them. They do have questions to answer defensively, but seeing them win a lot of high-scoring games would not be a surprise this season.

A big plus for the Raiders is that they are not relying on youngsters coming in and performing to give them a chance. Instead, they are relying on older, experienced heads. These players have all been around the league for quite a while, and know what is expected of them. This puts the Raiders in a comfortable position and, if newcomers like Doug Martin and Jordy Nelson can find their feet and perform, there is no reason to think the Raiders won’t outplay the odds put on them this season. They are worth watching and they are sure to be involved in some exciting, high-scoring games, but don’t be surprised to also see them challenge this season.