To the surprise of some folks, ESPN predicts that the Las Vegas Raiders will be in the playoffs this season.
The Silver and Black will be entering Jon Gruden’s fourth year as head coach in 2021. Sadly, the playoffs have continued to elude him and his squad. One of the biggest issues had been the defense, which was coached by his friend, Paul Guenther until he was relieved of his duties in December. Fast forward to today and the team’s complexion has changed, not just the defense. Yes, veteran coach Gus Bradley and his Cover 3 scheme have made their way to Sin City. His unit received an infusion of talent this offseason as well. On the other hand, the offensive line will look drastically different next season after undergoing a makeover. What do all of these moves translate into? According to ESPN, a playoff berth it seems.
Playoffs? Raiders? No way…
You heard it right Raider Nation, the playoffs! Is it feasible? Well, that’s a complicated question but ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez made that his bold prediction recently. He believes that the defensive improvements will deliver results, in fact, all they have to do is not fold late. Easier said than done considering what fans have witnessed these past three years. Nevertheless, Bradley’s track record is solid from his time in Seattle and Los Angeles. The Raiders made noteworthy additions in Yannick Ngakoue and Trevon Moehrig, so the potential is there.
Gutierrez also alluded to the fact he believes that the offense will hum early. This will be tested right out of the gate when they face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. A renovated offensive line and running back corps will have a chance to show what it has early on. Other than losing Nelson Agholor, the receiver group largely remains the same so we’re assuming Derek Carr will pick up right where he left off last year. There’s a lot of questions to be answered but it bodes well for Raider Nation to know that some believe this team will make noise in 2021.
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*Top Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group