The NFL released their 2020 schedule and the Las Vegas Raiders are in a prime position to make it to the playoffs with a cherry schedule.
Every game matters.
Watch Coach Gruden break down the schedule now on https://t.co/CHTjGefK36.
Plus more analysis at 5 p.m. PT on @nflnetwork. pic.twitter.com/faTCHQcRtC
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) May 7, 2020
In recent years, the schedule has been absolutely brutal for the Raiders. This season though, the Raiders will only play against four teams that had winning records in 2019. Five squads finished 7-9 and Las Vegas is going to see two of them, the Chargers and Broncos, twice in 2020. Also, four other teams lost at least 10 games.
The beauty of the Raiders 2020 schedule is the NFL wishes to make an instant impact in the Las Vegas market, which will have four primetime home games. The first is against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football in Week 2. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers roll into town for Sunday Night Football in Week 7. In Week 11, the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, come in for Sunday Night Football and finally, the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15 Thursday Night Football.
The Raiders have six games starting at 10am PST, and seven in the Eastern Time Zone against Carolina, New England, Kansas City, Cleveland, Atlanta, and the Jets. Opening the 2020 season on the road, the Raiders will take a trip to North Carolina to face rookie head coach Matt Rhule and the Panthers.
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Raiders: Cold, What Cold?
Quarterback Derek Carr has had documented struggles playing in cold weather, but this season, the Raiders got a favorable California kid weather schedule. Theoretically, there will only be two games played outdoors during the Winter in cold climate, against the Jets in early December and the Broncos in the season finale in January.
Four of the seven Raiders’ East Coast trips take place at the beginning of the season when the team will be at its freshest. They will play back-to-back games in Atlanta and New York. Teams used to being in bad winter weather locations such as the Patriots, Chiefs, Browns, and Panthers will all be played by the first day of November. The game against the Falcons will be played indoors, leaving only the Jets and the Broncos as games potentially played in inclement weather.
All eight home games are now in a dome, add the ninth dome game in Atlanta, with a trip to the Raiders second home in sunny Southern California. The weather shouldn’t be an issue for most games in 2020.
The home stretch
The Raiders will finish the season with three out of the last four games at home. In a season where the Raiders may be flirting with playoff aspirations, making a final push at home will be optimal. Moreover, teams are going to be traveling to Las Vegas early. Players are going to schedule time to go out and enjoy themselves. There’s no such thing as a Las Vegas business trip without indulging oneself. Especially coming out of quarantine, Sin City is sure to sap the life out of opposing legs.
The Big O’
It has been a very long time since the Raiders played a schedule this favorable. Usually the travel is extreme and the long road trips are a competitive disadvantage. While having the misfortune of having to play the defending champions twice a season, the Raiders also have rivals who are far from established filling out the division. Nine games will be played under a roof and a tenth game should be in fabulous weather. Traveling to Arrowhead Stadium in the first matchup should help the Raiders tremendously. The loud noise and cold have proven to be a determining factor in terms of matching up with the Chiefs.
A reoccurring theme keeps coming to mind. “No Excuses.” None whatsoever. Jon Gruden, Raiders’ head coach, has a roster Tom Brady has admitted to believing he could win with. The schedule isn’t filled with top tier teams and offers lots of winnable games. This team has been rebuilt in his image with a lot of edgy young players ready to compete and expecting to win. There is depth at every position on the offense, potential injury to a few starters shouldn’t completely derail the season. Most of all, the schedule is a good one. Probably the best in recent memory.
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Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images