Las Vegas Raiders schedule takeaways:
- The Las Vegas Raiders schedule for the 2021 NFL season is the single most-difficult in the entire NFL. It starts with a home Monday night game against the Baltimore Ravens.
- The NFL is making sure to feature Allegiant Stadium in Vegas this season with two primetime nationally televised games after fans couldn’t attend during the Raiders’ inaugural season in Sin City.
- Sportsnaut predicts that the Raiders will finish with a 7-10 record.
Will the difficulty of this early-season schedule coupled with the Raiders’ issues this offseason derail their playoff expectations? It’s pretty much going to be all on Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense. Despite some upgrades on defense, this unit yielded nearly 30 points per game a season ago. It’s not going to stop the top offenses in the AFC.
Below, we break down the Las Vegas Raiders schedule for the 2021 season and make score predictions for all 17 regular-season games.
Las Vegas Raiders schedule predictions, roster outlook
Let’s take a look at the team’s complete 2021 schedule and make predictions for each game.
Raiders’ roster outlook
- QB — Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota
- RB — Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Jalen Richard
- WR — Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow, Willie Snead, Zay Jones, John Brown
- TE — Darren Waller, Foster Moreau
- Defense — Raiders are not ranked in the top 20 this week.
The Raiders’ skill positions is where this team is going to remain competitive in 2021. Their running back room goes three deep. They have six starter-caliber receivers and one of the top tight ends in the NFL, Darren Waller.
With that said, Las Vegas also changed up its offensive line big time — moving off three starters. We’re not sure that the team upgrades in this regard in front of Derek Carr. As for the quarterback, he now seems to be committed to the Raiders long-term. Whether that feeling is mutual remains to be seen. The 2021 season will dictate that after Vegas was rumored to be interested in Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers in blockbuster trades.
Defensively, there’s still going to be some issues. Vegas remains pretty raw in the secondary. And despite adding Pro Bowl edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue in free agency, that unit will be a problem. Can these Raiders contend for a playoff spot in 2021? We answer that question and more below.
Las Vegas Raiders 2021 preseason schedule
|Saturday, Aug. 14||vs. Seattle Seahawks||9:00 PM||FOX5 Las Vegas|
|Saturday, Aug. 21||vs. Los Angeles Rams||10:00 PM||FOX 5 Las Vegas|
|Sunday, Aug. 29||@ San Francisco 49ers||4:00 PM||FOX 5 Las Vegas|
This season the NFL is lowering the amount of preseason games to three per team, and instead expanding the regular season to 17 games, rather than the traditional 16 games.
Week 1 — vs. Baltimore Ravens (MNF)
|Monday, Sept. 13||8:15 PM||ESPN/ABC|
- Spread: Ravens -4.5
- Moneyline: Raiders +175; Ravens -220
- Over/under: 51.5
Realistically, these Raiders don’t have anywhere near the talent on defense to keep the likes of Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman in check. While Las Vegas will score points, this side of the ball will continue to be an issue for Jon Gruden and Co. in 2021. It will also lead to a home loss against these Ravens to open the season.
- Week 1 prediction: Ravens 34, Raiders 20
Week 2 — @ Pittsburgh Steelers
|Sunday, Sept. 19||1:00 PM||CBS|
Las Vegas tore apart its offensive line this offseason and that’s music to the ears of T.J. Watt. This projects to be a rough game for Derek Carr, with Pittsburgh’s defensive line creating constant pressure and essentially living in the backfield. The scoreboard might be close, but the game shouldn’t be.
- Week 2 prediction: Steelers 24, Raiders 19
Week 3 — vs. Miami Dolphins
|Sunday, Sept. 26||4:05 PM||CBS|
Last season saw the Raiders’ playoff hopes pretty much come to an end on the day after Christmas against these Dolphins. It included Ryan Fitzpatrick taking over for a benched Tua Tagovailoa and leading Miami to two scores within the final 2:55 of the game in a comeback effort. That’s the crux of the issue for Las Vegas. It still doesn’t have the talent on defense to sustain success. with improvements Miami has made on offense, that will be magnified in this Week 3 matchup of playoff hopefuls.
- Week 3 prediction: Dolphins 28, Raiders 24
Week 4 — @ Los Angeles Chargers (MNF)
|Monday, Oct. 4||8:15 PM||ESPN|
In two games against the Raiders as a rookie, Justin Herbert completed 67.6% of his passes for 640 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Those are some insane stats for a first-year quarterback. Sure Las Vegas seems to think it has solved the secondary issues after adding Casey Hayward at cornerback in free agency and multiple safeties, but we need to see it on the field before we believe new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has turned things around.
- Week 4 prediction: Chargers 28, Raiders 23
Week 5 — vs. Chicago Bears
|Sunday, Oct. 10||4:05 PM||CBS|
The Khalil Mack revenge game. OK, that’s a bit too much. Even then, we’re sure the former Raiders All-Pro will want to make a statement against his ex-team. With some issues in pass protection in Las Vegas, that could be a problem for Derek Carr. None of this takes into account what promises to be a huge home-field advantage for the Raiders in Sin City and a limited Bears offense. Go with the home team here.
- Week 5 prediction: Raiders 27, Bears 23
Week 6 — @ Denver Broncos
|Sunday, Oct. 17||4:25 PM||CBS|
It’s pretty simple. If Las Vegas is going to earn a surprise appearances in the playoffs this season, it will need to sweep one of the Chargers or Broncos. The Raiders boast the most-difficult schedule in the league. Acquiring divisional wins is going to be huge. As for the Broncos, they were 2-6 at home a season ago and are under .500 at Mile High under Vic Fangio. Expect these two things to play a huge role in an upset Raiders road win
- Week 6 prediction: Raiders 24, Broncos 17
Week 7 — vs. Philadelphia Eagles
|Sunday, Oct. 24||4:05 PM||FOX|
Shootouts will be commonplace for Las Vegas, whose defense is still a collection of unproven young players and replacement-level veterans. Hurts and the Eagles should have little trouble establishing the run on the Raiders, which will result in a “W” in Sin City.
- Week 7 prediction: Raiders 31, Eagles 26
WEEK 8 BYE
Week 9 — @ New York Giants
|Sunday, Nov. 7||1:00 PM||CBS|
That Las Vegas defense is just awful, so as long as Daniel Jones can protect the ball and Saquon Barkley can get enough push from his offensive line against the Raiders’ lackluster front seven, New York should blow this game wide-open.
- Week 9 prediction: Giants 31, Raiders 23
Week 10 — vs. Kansas City Chiefs (SNF)
|Sunday, Nov. 14||8:20 PM||NBC|
We have to give Las Vegas credit for sticking with the Chiefs in their two games a season ago. That included Kansas City coming out on 40-32 in Week 5 and winning by the score of 35-31 in Sin City in Week 11. The one common theme here? These Raiders just can’t stop Patrick Mahomes. Over the course of his career, he has accounted for 2,000 yards with 17 touchdowns against three interceptions in six starts against Vegas.
- Week 10 prediction: Chiefs 31, Raiders 27
Week 11 — vs. Cincinnati Bengals
|Sunday, Nov. 21||4:05 PM||CBS|
The winning formula for Cincinnati in 2021 will involve scoring a lot of points and hoping a healthy Joe Burrow has the ball in his hands last against non-playoff opponents. This is very much in play when the Bengals travel to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, Cincinnati’s defense is going to be a major issue in 2021. For the Raiders, that means a narrow win in a high-scoring affair.
- Week 11 prediction: Raiders 35, Bengals 31
Week 12 — @ Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving)
|Thursday, Nov. 25||4:30 PM||CBS|
Dallas didn’t get a lot better this offseason, but the Las Vegas Raiders are much worse than the team we saw in 2020. Quinn’s defense will generate pressure on Derek Carr, Ezekiel Elliott can run wild against the Raiders’ defense and this one should be over by the third quarter.
- Week 12 prediction: Cowboys 37, Raiders 27
Week 13 — vs. Washington Football Team
|Sunday, Dec. 5||4:05 PM||FOX|
There’s every reason to believe Allegiant Stadium will be rocking in Vegas this fall after fans were not permitted to attend games in the Raiders’ debut 2020 campaign. That’s going to play a huge difference, especially in games against evenly-matched opponents. I expect Derek Carr and Co. to do just enough to take advantage of that.
- Week 13 prediction: Raiders 23, Washington 20
Week 14 — @ Kansas City Chiefs
|Sunday, Dec. 12||1:00 PM||CBS|
There’s certainly a theme in play here. These Raiders should be able to score points against Kansas City. In fact, they averaged 33.5 points per in two outings versus the Chiefs in 2020. That came after Vegas dropped 19 total point in two games against the Chiefs in 2019. Even with this improved offense, the Raiders’ defense will prevent a season split.
- Week 14 prediction: Chiefs 41, Raiders 27
Week 15 — @ Cleveland Browns
Jon Gruden is a great offensive coach, and Derek Carr can light up the scoreboard. The problem is, Las Vegas can’t stop anyone, and continues to whiff on defensive player acquisitions. That’ll continue to cost the Raiders against the AFC West and other quality teams like the Browns.
- Week 15 prediction: Browns 35, Raiders 24
Week 16 — vs. Denver Broncos
|Sunday, Dec. 26||4:25 PM||CBS|
Things change on a dime between the Broncos and Raiders depending on the Aaron Rodgers situation. What we do know is that Las Vegas has won five of its past seven against Denver. Taking on the Broncos at home in what promises to be an electric Allegiant Stadium, we’re expecting that to be the case in Week 16. Whether it leads to playoff contention. Well, that’s unlikely.
- Week 16 prediction: Raiders 27, Broncos 24
Week 17 — @ Indianapolis Colts
|Sunday, Jan. 2||1:00 PM||CBS|
Jon Gruden looks every offseason for an upgrade over Derek Carr. He stuck by the Pro Bowl quarterback this year, but tore his offensive line to shreds. The Raiders’ defense is bad and its offensive line is taking a huge step backward. Those are all the ingredients needed for a Colts’ victory
- Week 17 prediction: Colts 24, Raiders 17
Week 18 — vs. Los Angeles Chargers
|Sunday, Jan. 9||4:25 PM||CBS|
The Raiders do indeed have a home-field advantage in Las Vegas. This should be magnified against a Chargers team that doesn’t boast a big traveling fan base despite Los Angeles’ proximity to the desert metropolis. If there’s something to play for here, I expect fans to show up big time. That will make a difference against a still greenish quarterback in Justin Herbert.
- Week 18 prediction: Raiders 31, Chargers 28