Away games are similar to taking medicine. While not incredibly fun, but if used correctly, it can benefit you. Obviously, every game features expectations of high intensity. Yet, when heading into a hostile stadium, teams endure an additional test. requiring them to step their game up.
In 2020, the Las Vegas Raiders boasted a relatively impressive 6-2 record on the road. Losing only to New England and Atlanta, all signs pointed positively. However, in 2021, Las Vegas has an apparently grueling schedule, visiting Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York (A), Pittsburgh, and of course their three AFC West opponents as well. From their scheduled away games, four teams found themselves in the 2020 playoffs (Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City) and the Denver Broncos were the only team to finish last in their division in 2020.
Road Less Traveled
Although the official schedules have yet to be released, it is fairly safe to assume that Las Vegas will be meeting a couple of these tough competitors in an inconvenient road trip. The Raiders are no stranger to difficult, almost confusing, scheduling layouts and tend to find themselves near or at the peak of miles traveled throughout a season.
For years, I have been a supporter of the “grueling travel schedule” as I hoped it would help the team learn to fight through the dog days, but after watching this team struggle going east and noticeably grow weary as the season continued, it would be completely acceptable for this team to not rank in the top ten of miles traveled.
Looking at the away schedule, it can be seen that the Raiders are certainly going to appreciate being home this season. The home opponents appear less intimidating. Yet extra attention must be paid to these away games against 2020 playoff teams. Situationally, an away game against an opponent that knows how to get over the hump and into the playoffs can be one of the most significant times to see what the Raiders are truly made of.
Looking at last season, the Raiders showed their ability to win away from Las Vegas. However, at times, showed signs of significant weakness on the road. The season showed the Raiders’ inability to establish identity. Wins in Kansas City and Cleveland, but crushing losses in Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
Tough schedule or not, the Raiders need to show consistency in 2021. At the very least, show stability in road records. Many can’t boast about winning 75 percent of road games.