The 2020 NFL schedule has now been released. While the season sits about four months away, fans can now use this time to peruse the schedule and predict a record. Diving into the Las Vegas Raiders’ schedule, there are a few roadblocks preventing the team from earning an “unbiased” 16-0 projections.
First Raiders Hiccup
The first roadblock comes in their first home game in their new stadium. In Week 2, the New Orleans Saints arrive. Last season, the Saints finished 13-3 and accomplished much without Drew Brees. While the Saints would surprisingly fall to the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card Round, the offense remains formidable. The Saints boast the best 2019 record of any team the Raiders will face in the regular season. Not only is this matchup poised to be the game of the week, but it will also be the first Monday Night Football game from the Raiders’ new stadium.
Just a mere two weeks later, the Raiders will welcome the Buffalo Bills to Allegiant Stadium. Last season, the Bills finished 10-6 and fell to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round. Since the Bills have added speedster Stefon Diggs for Josh Allen and lockdown corner Josh Norman. Both acquisitions simply solidify an already impressive team all around. The Bills may not appear terrifying but proved dangerous towards the end of the season.
While the Raiders will, of course, face the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs twice in a season. Unfortunately, the Raiders must shake off their tough matchup with the Bills, just to roll into the biggest challenge of their season: facing the Chiefs in Arrowhead. With the game landing on October 11, the weather should not be cold enough for stations to showcase the unfortunately infamous “Derek Carr in cold weather against the Chiefs” stat graphic.
Last season, in the teams’ first contests, the Raiders were leading the Chiefs 10-0 to start the second half. However, the Raiders found themselves trailing 28-10 at halftime. As if the Super Bowl ring is no indication, the Chiefs possess elite talent. With their matchup in Week 5, the Raiders can’t claim a lack of preparedness.
Reason for Hope
While the Raiders’ schedule is nowhere near as treacherous as last season’s, the team has three critical matchups in their first five weeks. If Las Vegas can squeak their way through these first five weeks with a winning record, Jon Gruden could lead them to the playoffs.