The upcoming 2022 NFL season brings with it the highest set expectations for a Raiders team since at least 2017, and perhaps even all the way back to ten-plus years prior. With a new offensive mastermind at head coach and maybe the best collection of receiving weapons in the entire league, there are many who believe the sky is the limit for Las Vegas this season.
Building off last year’s playoff berth will be easier said than done, however, as the Silver and Black find themselves in the thick of one of the better divisions in the history of the NFL. Any of the Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, or Chargers could conceivably find themselves in the AFC title game, come January. Maybe even against a fellow division foe.
What this means for the Raiders, is that even reaching the postseason will be an uphill battle, despite their regular season success last year and the additions of the likes of Davante Adams and Chandler Jones. Since the NFL expanded to four, four-team divisions per conference in 2002, no division has seen all four teams qualify for the playoffs. Even if the extra wild card team, added in 2020, is considered, no last-place team from any division in the past 19 years would have qualified.
In all likelihood, at least one AFC West team will be looking from the outside in, when playoff time arrives.
Regardless of the difficult path back to the postseason for the Raiders, though, anything short of a playoff berth, and possibly even a playoff win, would be viewed as a major disappointment. Owner Mark Davis has made no qualms about the fact that this Raiders team is built to win now.
With the final preseason game in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look at three things that Las Vegas must accomplish to ensure it is one of the seven AFC playoff teams this season.