It wasn’t long ago that the Oakland Raiders were one of the laughingstocks of the NFL, missing the playoffs in every season from 2003-2015. A lot has changed in two years, and the team finds itself as maybe the biggest threat to the New England Patriots.

Following a 12-4 record last year, no one is given a better chance in the AFC to knock off the defending champs than the Raiders. Oakland enters the 2017 NFL preseason as one of three teams with 10/1 odds to win Super Bowl LI, and it’s more likely than not that they will be in the playoffs for a second straight year.

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The Westgate Las Vegas Super Book gives Oakland -135 odds to return to the postseason, putting their odds to miss the playoffs at +115. They are favored to win the AFC West, arguably the NFL’s best division.

Twelve wins weren't enough to give Oakland their first division title since 2002 because the Kansas City Chiefs held the tiebreaker with a 12-4 record of their own. The Denver Broncos missed the postseason, but they still managed to go 10-6 in the season after they won the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Chargers have occupied the AFC West basement for the last two years, though they might find success in 2017 if they stay healthy during their first season in L.A.

Oakland’s health was their biggest downfall a year ago. Quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg in Week 15, effectively ending any chance the Raiders had to go deep into the playoffs. The team couldn’t get past Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans on Wild-Card Weekend, forced to look towards the 2017 season after a promising 2016 campaign.

More than seven months later, Carr is back on the field, fresh off signing a five-year, $125 million contract. Along with big money comes high expectations, and no one’s expectations are higher than that of the Raiders’ signal caller.

“Win a Super Bowl,” Carr told the Las Vegas Review-Journal when asked about his goals. “And not just one but multiple.”

It’s a lofty goal for a quarterback that’s entering his fourth NFL season and has never taken a snap in a playoff game. But considering the way Carr played in 2016 combined with Oakland’s additions in the last few years, the Raiders can make multiple postseason appearances and even win a Super Bowl before they move to Las Vegas in 2019.

Carr was a legitimate MVP candidate for the first three-quarters of the season, finishing the year with 28 touchdown passes and six interceptions. His passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempts have improved every year, and the Raiders ranked sixth a year ago in total offense.

All signs point to Carr being even better in 2017, and he’s never had better weapons around him. Wide receiver Amari Cooper has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his two NFL seasons, and running back Marshawn Lynch has come out of retirement to try to bring a Super Bowl to the Bay Area.

Even with their prospects of touting a top-five offense, Oakland’s best player is on the opposite side of the ball. Khalil Mack was named last season’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year. With his ability to play both defensive end and linebacker, Mack became the first player in league history to be named an All-Pro at two different positions in 2015.

Mack wasn’t able to make up for all the holes on Oakland’s defense in 2016. The unit ranked 20th in points allowed and 26th in total defense. It will certainly have to be better this season if the Raiders want to make a championship run.

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“We know we’ve got a good team. We know we can play with anybody. We know we’re good in all three phases,” head coach Jack Del Rio told 95.7 The Game’s “Mornings W/Joe, Lo & Dibs” when training camp began. “How you rank on last year’s stats and how that projects going forward is more for fantasy leagues than it is for what we’re doing. So we’re busy at work, we’ve got a good group of guys, we added to it. Obviously, there have been subtractions, like there are every year … But we feel like we’ve strengthened ourselves coming out of the offseason.”

Oakland begins the preseason with a game against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday night. They’ll visit the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the regular season on Sept. 10.