It's not quite the 16 years the Buffalo Bills have suffered through, but the Oakland Raiders are working on a lengthy postseason drought of their own.
The Silver and Black haven't made the playoffs since 2002 – a 13-year stretch surpassed only by the Bills. But there is optimism in Oakland, even after a 7-9 season. Coach Jack Del Rio and his staff, including offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and defensive coordinator Ken Norton, return for another year, providing some much-needed continuity.
The Raiders also return quarterback Derek Carr's top four wide receivers, top three tight ends and starting running back. On the other side of the ball is University at Buffalo product Khalil Mack, who just might challenge for the league's Defensive Player of the Year award.
The Buffalo News continues its look at the Bills’ opponents in 2016 with a closer look at the Raiders, who host Buffalo in Week 13.
Additions: G Kelechi Osemele (previously with Baltimore), CB Sean Smith (Kansas City), OLB Bruce Irvin (Seattle), FS Reggie Nelson (Cincinnati), DE Damontre Moore (Miami).
Analysis: Osemele solves a huge need for the Raiders on the interior offensive line. He's one of the best guards in the NFL and can also play left tackle in the event Donald Penn's play slips. ... Smith has 87 passes defensed in his first seven seasons. Sports Illustrated ranked him as the No. 8 cornerback in the league. ... Irvin should supply another solid pass-rush treat to pair with Mack. ... Nelson adds depth to a secondary that finished No. 26 in the NFL against the pass.
Departures: RT J'Marcus Webb (signed with Seattle), C Tony Bergstrom (Oakland), LB Lorenzo Alexander (Buffalo), WR Jeremy Ross (New York Jets).
Analysis: Webb graded out as one of the worst right tackles in football last season. ... Alexander is primarily a special-teams contributor. ... Ross is mainly a returner. The Raiders elected not to offer him a contract as a restricted free agent.
Draft report: West Virginia S Karl Joseph (first round), Illinois DE Jihad Ward (second round), Michigan State DE Silique Calhoun (third round), Michigan State QB Connor Cook (fourth round), Texas Tech RB DeAndre Washington
Analysis: Joseph played only four games last year, but has five interceptions and is one of the biggest hitters in the class. He figures to replace Charles Woodson in the starting lineup. ... Ward gives the Raiders depth along the offensive line, but will have to show a knee injury that bothered him last year is no longer an issue. ... Calhoun gives the Raiders another pass-rush option. He had nine sacks last year with the Spartans. ... Cook was the seventh quarterback drafted after being looked at as a first- or second-round talent, with questions about his attitude being blamed for the drop. ... Washington projects as a backup to Latavius Murray at running back and could take over the return jobs.
Returning Pro Bowlers: Murray, Mack, Carr, FB Marcel Reese, WR Amari Cooper.
Biggest question: Can the Raiders win the AFC West? The division seems there for the taking, with the Broncos likely starting Mark Sanchez at quarterback and the Chargers coming off a 4-12 season. That leaves the Chiefs and Raiders. Anything less than a 10-win season and playoff spot would be a disappointment for Oakland.