The Las Vegas Raiders open up against the Baltimore Ravens, and it is possible they will be without first-round pick Rashod Bateman.
In Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders will not only welcome fans back into the stands, but they will welcome in a perennial AFC powerhouse as well. The Silver and Black open up their 2021 campaign against the Baltimore Ravens and star quarterback Lamar Jackson, a former MVP in the league.
For a Raiders team who struggled mightily on defense last season, this is going to be a tough one right out of the gate, as their new-look defense looks to make stops. Jackson can make plays with his legs, and his arm, but he may be without one of his potential playmakers for this one.
2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman has a groin injury that will require surgery, and while the team expects him to be back in September, he is a wide receiver, and groin injuries are serious business. If he cannot go against the Raiders, the defense could dodge a major bullet, as he has the potential to be a breakout star in the NFL in Year 1.
Raiders looking to improve in a big way defensively
It is no big secret that this defense was atrocious last season, and they were incredibly bad at not only getting sacking the quarterback but even getting in his face to force mistakes. That cannot happen against a player like Jackson, who has proven time and time again that he can beat you in so many ways.
The loss of Bateman is a big one, however, as this is a position group the Ravens revamped this offseason, adding him as a draft pick, and signing Sammy Watkins in free agency. They still have Marquise Brown, but he is questionable to play as well, as he is dealing with a hamstring injury all summer long.
The Las Vegas Raiders will play at least four games on a national stage in 2021, including the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
If Bateman cannot go, it is one less weapon this defense has to worry about, which is huge considering the Ravens have a dynamic playmaker at quarterback. The Ravens have long been one of the top teams in the AFC, and the 2021 season should be no different, so this is definitely a tough Week 1 matchup.