2020 NFL Schedule Release: Raiders Breakdowns and Predictions
Las Vegas Raiders:
It’s a new day in Oak………..Las Vegas, (it’s going to take me some time to adjust) and the Raiders are hoping that a change of scenery can make the difference in continuing turning around the teams tortured recent history.
In Division: Success is never going to come easy when you have the defending champions in your division and they ready to remind you of their championship pedigree twice a season. Kansas City took both games from the Raiders last year including a 40-9 blowout in Week 14. Maybe the Raiders can use their new home to their advantage and teams will begin to celebrate a little early and enjoy the all that the wonderful city of Las Vegas has to offer, if not, then I see more of the same for this match-up moving forward.
Denver split the season series last year with a 4th quarter comeback in Week 17 to put both teams at an even 7-9 record. 7-9 for Denver was an accomplishment, with rookie QB Drew Lock at the helm, the team viewed any win as a great learning experience for their upstart squad. 7-9 for the Raiders however, was a bit of a disappointment, the team showed flashes of something throughout the year, and though in my opinion they didn’t deserve to even sniff a playoff spot, they were able to stay afloat all the way until the bitter end. With Las Vegas using pick #12 to select Henry Ruggs III as the first wideout taken in the 2020 NFL Draft over his former Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy, who was taken by Denver at #15, it will be interesting to see if Raider fans will have to be constantly reminded of that potential mistake for years and years to come.
The Raiders were just able to get over the Los Angeles Chargers last season sweeping them in both games by under a touchdown. That Charger team is no longer lead by Phil Rivers who has had more than his fair shake at taking down the team formerly of Oakland. Now it’s the Justin Herbert era in LA and the Raiders would find it very smart of them to try and get into the young QB’s head early. Their first match-up coming up in Week 9 gives Herbert plenty of time to dethrone current presumptive starter Tyrod Taylor and get a dosage of what life will be like in the AFC West. Football is weird sometimes, for the longest time the Patriots couldn’t figure out how to beat the Dolphins, the Vikings never seem to be able to beat the Bears, my point is some teams just have others numbers, I don’t know how it happens, but if they could figure it out, it’d be best to get into the young QB’s head sooner.
Out of Division Notables:
Week 7 vs Tampa Bay – This is intriguing for obvious reasons, the GOAT. Tom Brady has taken his talents to Tampa and along with him came some big names in Ndamukong Suh and Rob Gronkowski adding to an already talented Bucs roster. With this game coming right in the middle of the NFL season, expect “Tompa Bay” to be in full force and ready to unleash all the firepower they have.
Week 8 at Cleveland – With such high expectations coming into the season for the Browns to reverse the many many many years of misfortune they have faced as a franchise, Cleveland fell short and was the biggest disappointment of last season. This year, they hope to prove those expectations true. Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense have an unprecedented amount of weapons as their disposal and hope that yet another coach and yet another year is the one they have been waiting for.
Week 13 at NY Jets – This one to me is one that should be circled as a whole organization. I know some of you might be confused as to why the Jets, a team that doesn’t seem to have all that high of aspirations, would be selected as a notable game. I have this as notable due to the utter embarrassment of a performance the Raiders put up last year. Coming in to Week 12 of last season the Raiders were 6-4 heading to face the lowly 3-7 Jets in a game that would put Oakland in the drivers seat for playoff contention, the Raiders would go on to get absolutely blown out 3-34 and never would gain solid footing into the playoffs. Right this wrong Coach Gruden, you should all be embarrassed by that performance, go out and make it up to all of those die-hard fans who have watched this team waste away along with their decaying facility for all those years.
Week 14 vs Indianapolis – Indianapolis was one of the Raiders best victories on paper last year. Indy was a solid team, who without some injuries to some key players, would’ve put up a stronger fight down the stretch last season. This year, Indy added an incredibly familiar face to Raider Nation in Phillip Rivers who has an 18-9 all-time record against the Raiders and has thrown for more touchdowns against the Raiders (47) than he has against any other NFL franchise.
FINAL RECORD PREDICTION: 8-8