Derek Carr and Jack Del Rio making Oakland Raiders a contender

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Versus the New Orleans Saints in week one, the Oakland Raiders trailed by 14 in the second-half. 

Still, the Silver and Black never seemed out of the game. They proved that by going for a two-point conversion that gave them the 35-34 lead in the final minute of the game. Eventually, the Raiders would hold onto the win once New Orleans kicked a long field goal wide-right in the closing seconds.
For the first time in awhile, the Raiders came back to defeat a decent team that held the lead most of the game.
Even ESPN listed the odds of the Raiders winning after the two-point conversion at 44 percent.



Why did the Raiders gamble?
Simple, the Raiders believed in their leader at quarterback and head coach.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio said after the game that he told the offense they would score and go for the two points. He later said he believed in quarterback Derek Carr.

This is precisely the mentality the Raiders need as they ascend to contender status.
Despite playing against future hall of fame quarterback Drew Brees, the Raiders did not seem discouraged in the fourth quarter. Carr got an opportunity to prove his worth by answering blows from the Saints offense with his own scoring drives. 
Del Rio rewarded his quarterback by leaning on him for the winning throw on the final offensive play. Carr threw it up and let his receiver Michael Crabtree make a play for the winning score.
These are precisely the gambles of confidence that the Raiders need as they transform into a playoff team. Yes, it is only one win. However, that one win helped them earn the No. 10 spot in ESPN’s recent Power Rankings
Oakland will not get taken lightly this year. They lost five games by one score in 2015. This season, they added a bunch of talent in free agency via Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith and Kelechi Osemele. 
More importantly, week one proves there is a culture shift in the East Bay. Not only do the Raiders believe they can win, but they are proving they’ve learned how to win the close games that they failed to close in previous campaigns.
Hence, teams will play the Raiders hard and close. However, Oakland is ready for everyone’s best shot.
The Raiders are ready for the challenges of being a favorite for the first time in years. They are displaying the confidence they need to win games through their leaders at quarterback and coach. 
Both Del Rio and Carr have proven their worth in their tenure with the Raiders. Del Rio proved his leadership by making this team competitive in 2015. Carr showcased his worth by becoming the unquestioned starter since he was drafted by the team. However, both figures are taking it to the next step by proving they can win.
Granted, the team still needs to improve before contention is a foregone conclusion. They must improve their run defense and limit big-plays. Regardless, Oakland has the foundation for a winning culture due to the leadership at quarterback and head coach.
Expect the Raiders to continue winning as their quarterback and coach continue exerting their talent and confidence. 
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Pete D. Camarillo is currently a credentialed Lakers writer for SportsOutWest and co-host of the weekly Touchdowns and Tangents podcast. Pete enjoys creating content about music, life and West Coast Sports, specifically the NBA and NFL. He has published more than 1,000 articles across various publications including ClutchPoints, FullPressCoverage, TheSportsDaily, Fansided and Inquistr. Pete is also currently a full-time media relations professional for Business Wire and he is active in ONA, SPJ, NABJ and AAJA organizations in Los Angeles. The 2015 CSUN Journalism grad volunteers on his Journalism Alumni Association Board of Directors now. His background includes community relations with the L.A. Clippers during the 2014-15 season. studying sports management, football coaching and earning a fellowship for his entrepreneurship ventures. Follow him on Twitter @petecertified.


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