The NFL just released schedules for each of the league’s 32 franchises. For the Las Vegas Raiders, there is ample potential to both win and begin a new era in Sin City.
A combination of prime-time showings and fair travel schedules make for an opportunity to show the world that the Raiders of old are back.
It’s official, the Raiders are a few months away from opening football festivities in the state-of-the-art Allegiant Stadium.
Hereâ€™s a lit up Allegiant Stadium (@AllegiantStadm) from all sides of the $2 billion, 65,000 seat facility. Future home of the @Raiders and @unlvfootball. #vegas #raiders #stadium #unlvfb pic.twitter.com/FpBkXnffPL
— Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 22, 2020
Raider Nation now knows exactly when, where, and who the team will be playing this upcoming season with last night’s schedule release.
There are an abundance of positives in regards to the Raiders schedule. Even general manager Mike Mayock is more than ready for the season to begin.
"We have four primetime home games. I think that charges up the players."
Our friend and @Raiders GM Mike Mayock is excited to see football in Las Vegas in 2020!
ðŸ“º: 2020 NFL Schedule Release LIVE on NFL Network
ðŸ“±: https://t.co/5FJW2HddbF pic.twitter.com/RffSOrX60M
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) May 8, 2020
A few other highlights include:
- The NFL has rewarded the Raiders with four home games in premier prime-time slots, a first in the franchise’s history.
Four prime-time games. All at home. Thatâ€™s a first in #Raiders franchise history. Viva Las Vegas.
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) May 7, 2020
- For the first time since 2015, the Silver and Black will have eight home games in Las Vegas rather than losing a home game in international play.
- There are only two instances of the team traveling on the road in back-to-back weeks in 2020. The first is more technical rather than actual as the Raiders will travel to Cleveland in Week 8 and then make the hour and a half flight to play the Chargers in Week 9. California based Raider fans will undoubtedly make the new SoFi Stadium feel like another home game for the organization as they have done so in recent years.
#RaiderNation Boo's The #Chargers Nothing like a #Raiders Home Game! #OAKvsSD pic.twitter.com/zhBYjHtb9q
— LVRaiderMarcus (@MrM_7) October 27, 2015
- Much to the team’s chagrin, the Raiders have the potential to only participate in two cold weather games all season long. The team will look to redeem themselves as they will visit the Denver Broncos and New York Jets on the road in 2020, this time in December.
- Derek Carr’s house of horror’s, Arrowhead Stadium, will see the Raiders and Chiefs clash in early October rather than December for the first time since 2013. Carr has the ability to change the narrative of not being able to produce at the home of the 2019 Super Bowl Champions in 2020.
Derek Carr at Arrowhead vs. Chiefs:
2014: 27/56 for 222 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
2015: 21/33 for 194 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
2016: 17/41 for 117 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
2017: 24/41 for 211 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
2018: 24/33 for 185 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
2019: 12/21 for 152 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) December 1, 2019
- Last but not least, the team will finish the upcoming regular season strong with a streak of three home games before the finale in Denver. For a team looking to become contenders, that home stand may prove to be the edge they need to capitalize on a potential playoff push.
Related: Projection: 2020 AFC West Runs Wild in NFL
Compared to recent years, this is one of the most favorable schedules the Raiders have had in quite some time. However, there are three glaring negatives:
- The Raiders have a short week between their Week 2 and 3 opponents. They will open Allegiant Stadium vs. the Saints on Monday Night Football and then travel to New England on a short week. The combination of travel to the opposite coast and Bill Belichick’s coaching prowess could prove to be a daunting task.
- While the Silver and Black will remarkably play against the Chiefs at Arrowhead before December, the other meeting with the division rival is not as ideal.
Chiefs have a bye before visiting #Raiders in Week 11. This is 6th time in past 10 seasons KC has had bye before playing Raiders. Chiefs are 4-1 in those games. Raiders have had bye 1 time in past 27 seasons before playing KC (2009 loss)
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) May 8, 2020
- Head coach Andy Reid and a rested Kansas City team will be a tall order for anyone. The Raiders will need all hands on deck to achieve victory.
- The toughest stretch of teams (based on their records last year) will be Weeks 2-7 as those five teams combined for a 54-26 record. The Silver and Black must have a strong start. Otherwise, it could spoil the initial Las Vegas season.
It’s Time to Get Back to the Roots
The 2020 Raiders have a schedule that is more than generous for the first time in many years. The combination of home prime-time matchups and relatively low travel should enable the team to make the most of their first campaign in Las Vegas. The other local professional sports team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, (NHL) had one of the most successful inaugural seasons in sports history as they reached the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2017-2018 season. The Silver and Black may not duplicate that exact type of success, but there should not be any excuses for the team not to make the playoffs in 2020.
The new venue in Sin City affords the team to re-establish the only way the late Al Davis knew, winning.
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Top Photo: Ed Zurga/Associated Press