3 Games That Will Encapsulate 2021 Raiders Season

Following the 2021 NFL schedule release, we now know when the Las Vegas Raiders will be playing their opponents.

The schedule has a nice mix of opponents who will test the Raiders from the outset, will know rather quickly if this team is for real. With so much on the line in 2021, let’s take a closer look at three games that will tell us all we need to know.

The three Raiders games to mark on your calendar…

September 13th Week 1: Baltimore Ravens

Well, Week 1, are you ready for some football? The Raiders will welcome the Baltimore Ravens and the dynamic Lamar Jackson. What a better or worse way to test out the Raiders than with a perennial playoff contender. Jackson’s a dynamo and is must-see television and as we know, the Ravens always have a tough, gritty defense.

They’ve also improved their receiving corps, so expect the Raiders’ defense to be tested throughout the evening. This game will be huge as it’s opening weekend and the first home game in Las Vegas with fans in attendance. The Raiders will not be able to make mistakes in this one or it could get out of hand early. Nevertheless, should that defense show improvement and the offense continue its pace from last season, this could be a game that gives them confidence all season.

December 12th Week 14: Kansas City

I mean is there anything that needs to be said here? This game will be huge, as always, in the second half of the season.

The storylines if the Raiders are in playoff contention will be the same. Is Derek Carr able to win in the cold? Can Carr win in Kansas City? Will Jon Gruden avoid a late-season collapse? If the Raiders are to make the playoffs and be taken seriously, this game will definitely have an impact on that.

The Chiefs are the two-time defending AFC champions and the Raiders seem to almost be built in some sort of semblance to them. Will this be the year the Raiders win the meaningful games in December? This will be the second matchup of the season between the two, but this one will carry more significance depending on the position of both teams. The cold has been the Raiders’ biggest hindrance, but they did pick up a victory last season in Kansas City, so can they double up this year. They may just have to.

December 18th or 19th Week 15: Cleveland Browns

At this point of the year, this could be the make-or-break game for the Raiders. This will be coming off the game at Kansas City and playoff implications could be everywhere. If the Raiders have beaten the Chiefs, this game could be the biggest of the season. If they have lost, this could be the game where they have to win and get help to stay alive.

The questions will be the same. Can Carr win in the cold? Will Gruden avoid a letdown? Last season, Carr and co. were able to defeat the Browns in Cleveland even though that was mid-season and the game had very strong winds that affected both squads. This matchup has divisional implications as well. The Browns will be duking it out with the Ravens and Steelers again, meanwhile, the Raiders and Chiefs could be battling for AFC West supremacy.

These are three games that I have circled on the calendar for the season as the biggest. Truth be told, the biggest games could be the mid-season matchups. Nevertheless, all of this will depend on what the Raiders bring to the table.

Excitement will be aplenty up until Week 1, then, we’ll see if they have what it takes to compete. Regardless, football is now four months away.

You May Also Like: A Look At Raiders’ 2021 Schedule Highlights

*Top Photo: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

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