Las Vegas Raiders can prove their worth early in the 2023 NFL season

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders struggled to a six-win season during the 2022 NFL campaign, but they can prove to be an improved team early on in 2023.

In 2023, the Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to bounce back from a 2022 season that left much to be desired. Going into the season as a team many felt was a sleeper to make a deep playoff run, the Raiders stumbled out of the gate, and in the end, turned to Jarrett Stidham at quarterback instead of Derek Carr with the playoff still a possibility.

That led to an offseason of change, as Carr was released in February, and star tight end Darren Waller was traded to the New York Giants before the 2023 NFL Draft. New faces like Jimmy Garoppolo, Michael Mayer, and Jakobi Meyers will be expected to step in and lead the offense alongside Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams, while the defense will once again be led by Maxx Crosby.

Crosby has emerged as one of the best edge rushers in the game since his rookie season back in 2019, and after the Raiders bolstered the defensive line and secondary this offseason, the defense should be better. Overall, the talent on the Raiders is better than it was a year ago, but they have a long way to go before they are considered a playoff contender.

The Raiders schedule features some tough sledding early on in the season, including a road trip to Denver to kick off the festivities in Week 1.

Raiders must get off to a strong start in 2023

Playing in Denver in September is a lot better than later in the year, where the temperatures could be almost unbearable at times. After the Denver game, Las Vegas has to go to Buffalo, another cold-weather town where playing in the Fall is a much better scenario than playing in November or December.

The Broncos are expected to be an improved team with Sean Payton as head coach, and Russell Wilson under center in 2023. Buffalo is widely considered one of the best teams in the AFC, so getting out of the gate with a 1-1 record would prove to some that the Raiders could be a real force in the AFC this season.

Then comes the first home game for the Raiders, a very winnable game against the Pittsburgh Steelers that could have them heading to their second AFC West game of the season against Los Angeles at 2-1. Playing in LA is basically a home game for the Raiders, and with the Chargers once again one of the more hyped teams in the AFC, you have to think they will be the underdog in that one.

Next. Predictions for all 17 2023 Raiders games. dark

One of the best case scenarios I can see is getting out of the gate at least at 2-2, with strong wins against two AFC playoff contenders. After Week 4, Las Vegas takes on a Jordan Love-led Green Bay Packers team, and then welcomes the New England Patriots to town in Week 6, so the opportunity is there for them to surprise the experts early on.