The Las Vegas Raiders have a tough road in Weeks 1 and 2, and we take a way-too-early look at what could possibly go down.
The Las Vegas Raiders are riding a lot of momentum into this 2021 preseason on the back of a stellar draft and back-half of free agency. Schedules have officially been released and now it’s time to take a look at the Raiders’ first two opponents.
But first, one thing the Raiders needed to do in the draft was make a splash, and that they did with their first two picks of tackle Alex Leatherwood, and then in round two in Trevon Moehrig, who dropped into their lap. Offensive line help and defensive secondary are what this team needed the most, and I believe they successfully filled both of those needs right off the top.
Now, the Raiders have momentum as we head into the summer months, and this is a team that has been known the past couple of years for starting hot and finishing slow. So, now we have a situation where the Raiders are raring to go even more than they usually have been in the first portion of the regular season now that they’ve solidified multiple gaps in their roster.
Raiders should kick off the season with confidence
That should take them into Weeks 1 and 2 with a ton of confidence that they can win both of those games. Opening Week, we see the Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens at home, and then in Week 2, they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
I believe they are going to split those two games in whatever order. They’ll either win against Baltimore and lose in Pittsburgh, or lose to the Ravens and then come back and win at Heinz Field.
The better matchup in my eyes is the Steelers one, because even though the Ravens have some offensive line issues to be concerned about having lost Orlando Brown Jr. and Matt Skura, they are notorious, especially in the Lamar Jackson era, for getting out to extremely hot starts with big performances on Opening Day.
On the flip side, just from looking at the Steelers’ roster, I can tell they’re going to have a lot of issues this year. The offensive line has been depleted, the outside rush is going to take a hit with the loss of Bud Dupree, and even in the secondary, the losses of Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton are going to really way on them.
I see a situation occurring where the Steelers begin the season 0-2, which means the Raiders came back after a Week 1 loss at the hands of Lamar Jackson to stun the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
It’s the type of game this era’s Raiders are primed for winning. They beat the New Orleans Saints last year out of nowhere on Monday Night Football in Week 2, and this upcoming season, I think a win in Pittsburgh is what’s potentially on the table for this over-performing Raiders team.
I’d be a little surprised if they won both games 1 and 2, but it’s not completely out of the equation for me. The Ravens are going to win a lot of games in 2021, but a loss on Opening Day to a hungry Raiders team isn’t a crazy prospect.
I just take a pause because the Raiders are 3-9 all-time against the Ravens and also because of what I said earlier about the Ravens getting out to hot starts under Lamar Jackson.
I’ll also be surprised if they wind up losing both games 1 and 2 because, for a team that has notoriously gotten out to good starts under Jon Gruden, back-to-back losses to start the year would signify to me that the Gruden era is nearing a point where it could be wrapped up very soon.
The Las Vegas Raiders will open up their 2021 slate against the Baltimore Ravens, which will be a reunion for two of the bigger offseason additions.
I’m still very much digging into as much information as I can to make adequate picks for this upcoming season, but my gut feeling right off the bat is that the Raiders start off 1-1.