With the release of the NFL 2020 schedule, Las Vegas Raiders fans can finally start solidifying plans for the season. Every year, there are some matchups that have more intrigue than others. Here are eight games every Raiders fan should have highlighted for the 2020 season.
We knew the who, we now know the when. The official schedule for the upcoming season has been released and fans can officially begin to daydream about going 16-0, if they haven’t already. While Raider fans are often glued to the television when any of the sixteen games are on, there are some games everyone should make sure they tune into. These eight matchups have some very interesting underlying storylines for fans to watch for.
How will the Raiders defense hold up?
Week One, September 13: at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET
Yes, it’s the season opener and that is often enough reason for fans to tune in. What makes this game intriguing is the Raiders defense against the Panthers offense. Carolina added quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide-receiver Robby Anderson in the offseason. Bridgewater is a dual-threat with his passing and running, something the Raiders had little to no answer for in 2019. Also, Anderson put up 86 yards on only four receptions last year against Las Vegas’ defense.
With all their new shiny pieces on defense, it’s crucial the Raiders get off to a good start and prove they can hold their own against more athletic offenses, especially when you have to play Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill twice a year. Oh, the Panthers also have a guy named Christian McCaffrey in the backfield who put up over 1,300 yards on the ground and over 1,000 yards receiving last year. Containing him is an absolute must. This is a good challenge for Paul Guenther and the defense right out of the gate and could set the tone for the rest of the season.
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Primetime: New Stadium and QB’s Swan song
Week Two, Monday, September 21: vs Saints, 8:15 p.m. ET.
The first of four, I had to recount it a couple times, primetime games for the Raiders in their inaugural season in Las Vegas. While being under the spotlight is intriguing on its own, this will be the first time we get to see the Silver and Black suit up in their brand new venue. We’ll get to see Allegiant Stadium in all of its glory for the first time as fans as well. Their new home isn’t the only reason to tune though. This might be the swan song for quarterback Drew Brees. Seeing one of the greats in their final season is something that makes for stories we’ll tell our grandchildren one day.
Jon Gruden’s Revenge Tour
Week 3, September 27: at Patriots, 1 p.m. ET & Week 7, October 25: vs Buccaneers, 8:20 p.m. ET
Head coach Jon Gruden makes his return to Foxborough in Raiders gear for the first time since January 19, 2002. The infamous Tuck Rule game. That game has clearly sat with Jon Gruden, and many fans, for quite some time.
Tom Brady still haunts Jon Gruden pic.twitter.com/NXf3Xzrerv
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 5, 2018
With Tom Brady no longer a member of the Patriots, Gruden will have to seek his revenge in separate weeks when he and the Raiders face the Buccaneers.
Time for Derek Carr to Kill the Narratives
One of the most talked-about topics on Raiders Twitter is Derek Carr’s play in cold weather, especially in Kansas City. While they will only visit Arrowhead once (Week 5, October 11: 1 p.m. ET), the Raiders will potentially have three* games in sub-fifties temperature in 2020:
- Week 8*, November 1: at Browns, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 13, December 6: at Jets, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 17, January 3: at Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET.
These matchups in particular will be crucial for Carr. This season is going to be a put up or shut up season for him in many facets. Squashing these negatives narratives could go a long way towards winning back fans and solidifying his coach’s faith in him.
While most fans try their darndest to tune into all 16 games, the storylines behind these eight, in particular, are just too juicy to miss out. So, when the printable schedules get released, highlight, circle, make post-its, and post them around your house, do whatever it takes to make sure you don’t miss these games.
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*Cleveland’s average temperature in November is a high of 52 and a low of 39 so it’s quite plausible that game is above 50 at the time of kick-off.
Top Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images