The Las Vegas Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, and the new-look defense will have a major test in Lamar Jackson.
Much has been made of the Las Vegas Raiders new-look defense, led by a defensive coordinator who has had some real success at the NFL level. Gus Bradley inherits a group that was one of the worst in football last season, but also one that made wholesale changes, so he has a blank slate to work with in some areas.
One area that needed a major upgrade in 2021 is the pass rush, and the hope is that the Raiders did enough by bringing in Yannick Ngakoue via free agency, and Malcolm Koonce via the 2021 NFL Draft. When you add them to a group that includes Maxx Crosby, an established pass rusher, and the likes of Carl Nassib and Clelin Ferrell, you would think the Silver and Black have enough talent to get a good rush off the edge.
In Week 1, we will get to see if all the moves have paid off, as the Silver and Black play one of the more elusive signal-callers in all of football. Lamar Jackson is a dangerous player, one who can dominate a defense with his arm, or his legs, so it will be a major test for this new-look defense right out the gate in 2021.
Raiders could capitalize on Ravens potential injuries
Luckily for the Raiders, Jackson could be without some of his key weapons in Week 1, as he has already lost J.K. Dobbins for the year, and his top two wideouts are nursing injuries. Rashod Bateman and Myles Boykin have been placed on IR, and cannot return until Week 4, so they will be out, and Marquise Brown just returned to practice two days ago.
Even without his weapons, Jackson is going to be a problem and will look to pick apart a young secondary looking to take a step forward themselves. Playing in front of fans for the first time in the regular season inside Allegiant Stadium will make for an electric atmosphere in Week 1, and beating the Ravens would go a long way in them getting off on the right foot in 2021.