The 2021 NFL schedule was released this month for the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s still very early to speculate on records with training camp yet to open, but we’re going to anyway!
The fervor and excitement of the schedule release just wouldn’t feel the same without some predictions. There are high hopes for the Silver and Black to be successful. The futures of Jon Gruden, Derek Carr, and Mike Mayock loom large. Here is a (very early) prediction for them in 2021.
Week 1: Mon 09/13· 5:15 PM PDT – Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders (MNF)
The Monday Night Football opener. Fans are back at Allegiant as Las Vegas welcomes a playoff team for the occasion. Gus Bradley has his hands full with MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson in his first game as defensive coordinator. Remember when he was with the Chargers and they shut down Jackson? He’s a much better passer since that day, but Bradley will be pressing buttons early to try and throw off their offense.
Derek Carr opens up, and the Ravens play from behind. They can’t catch up.
Prediction: Raiders 31- Ravens 20
Week 2: Sun 09/19· 10:00 AM PDT – Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben is making one last stand for the Steelers, led by a fantastic defense. This game will be a challenge for Carr standing up to Pittsburgh’s pass-rush.
Ultimately the Raiders do what they normally do against the Steelers: take a win regardless of record or recent success.
Prediction: Raiders 28 – Steelers 23
Week 3: Sun 09/26· 1:05 PM PDT – Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Brian Flores has the Dolphins in a good position. They have a young quarterback and a ferocious defense. The Silver and Black will try and wash away a bad memory courtesy of Arden Key in last season’s face mask incident.
Las Vegas won’t have as much of a lead in this game, despite having a better running game than last year. A strong defensive showing by the Dolphins leads to a loss.
Prediction: Raiders 20 – Dolphins 33
Week 4: Mon 10/04· 5:15 PM PDT – Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (MNF)
Justin Herbert comes out strong at the Raider’s home away from home. The AFC West will be a battle between these two teams and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Chargers draw first blood.
Prediction: Raiders 26 – Chargers 34
Week 5: Sun 10/10· 1:05 PM PDT – Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
Gruden-Mack part deux. The Bears have an electric new quarterback that will be the starter for the Bears this season; despite what Matt Nagy may tell you about Andy Dalton.
Justin Fields is too talented to see the bench, and with Chicago’s defense looking strong, this will be an uphill battle for Las Vegas.
It’s one that they win. The Bears don’t quite have the offense to challenge the Raiders and Carr goes 2-0 against his former All-Pro teammate.
Prediction: Raiders 30 – Bears 21
Week 6: Sun 10/17· 1:25 PM PDT – Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos
Gruden’s squad comes into Mile High flying high after beating the Bears. The undermanned Broncos are not much of a match for the Silver and Black.
The Broncos end up getting booed by the home fans. They did not solve their quarterback problem in the offseason and it ends up a long year for them.
Prediction: Raiders 22 – Broncos 10
Week 7: Sun 10/24· 1:05 PM PDT – Philadelphia Eagles at Las Vegas Raiders
The surge continues. Jalen Hurts is presumably the starter and should present a challenge. The GOAT, Hunter Renfrow, makes his presence felt in this game.
Joe Flacco enters in garbage time and Allegiant is on fire.
Prediction: Raiders 41 – Eagles 23
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Sun 11/07· 10:00 AM PST – Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants
Don’t sleep on the Giants here. Joe Judge has them playing above their talent level, and they added a shiny new weapon in the first round of the 2021 draft. Nonetheless, a loaded Las Vegas roster is just too talented and will win this East Coast game handily.
Prediction: Raiders 30 – Giants 20
Week 10: Sun 11/14· 5:20 PM PST – Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders (SNF)
Shootout on Sunday night. As has been the trend since Las Vegas dedicated resources to try and match the Chiefs offensively, this one will be electric.
Carr and Patrick Mahomes will exchange blows with their weapons but in the end, the difference ends up being a bruising run game holding it down late.
Prediction: Raiders 37 – Chiefs 33
Week 11: Sun 11/21· 1:05 PM PST – Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders
The Bengals come in with second-year quarterback Joe Burrow and an electric new weapon Ja’Marr Chase. Burrow looks to get back on track against a defense that hemorrhaged points last season.
The Bengals may be a great team in the near future but for this game, there simply isn’t enough there to challenge Las Vegas. Jacobs, Waller, and Kenyan Drake all score, leading to a Raider victory
Prediction: Raiders 27 – Bengals 21
Week 12: Thu 11/25· 1:30 PM PST – Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
There’s nothing quite like the Raiders on Thanksgiving. Dak Prescott returns from injury to lead an impressive wide receiver core in Jerry World. Even with an improved defense, their defensive backs are bound to struggle against Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb.
Gruden commits to running the ball, the Cowboys get smart and spread out the defense with their weapons. The Silver and Black drop a disappointing game on a national stage.
Prediction: Raiders 23 – Cowboys 34
Week 13: Sun 12/05· 1:05 PM PST – Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders
Jack Del Rio comes into Vegas looking for revenge. Loaded with a strong defense, the Football Team looks to derail Del Rio’s former team’s playoff hopes.
Gruden has something to say about that. He dials up a keep-away offense that leaves Washington unable to hang. Remember, they did not solve their quarterback position either in the offseason and it costs them.
Prediction: Raiders 20 – WFT 16
Week 14: Sun 12/12· 10:00 AM PST – Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead has been cruel to Gruden and Carr. Outside of a victory in 2020, they have found themselves on the receiving end of some pretty bad losses.
The Chiefs will be looking to go on a run after an embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Mahomes goes off, the defense can’t stop him.
Prediction: Chiefs 37 – Raiders 30
Week 15: TBD – Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
Running backs galore. Gruden’s offense trots out Drake/Jacobs, the Browns lead with Chubb/Hunt. In true Gruden fashion, this one is a grinding ground battle.
Both Browns running backs will score a touchdown, Jacobs gets two. It’s not enough.
Prediction: Raiders 22 – Browns 27
Week 16: Sun 12/26· 1:25 PM PST- Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
This one will hurt. The Silver and Black will have their annual “fall asleep” game of the season and drop one to a considerably less talented Broncos team at home.
The Wynn club hangs their head low after this one.
Prediction: Raiders 17 – Broncos 26
Week 17: Sun 01/02· 10:00 AM PST – Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are looking to win the AFC South amid the Deshaun Watson drama and a resurgent Titans team. They grabbed Carson Wentz in the offseason and are hoping that reuniting him with Frank Reich will spark an old flame.
The Raiders have their hands full with this one. Some late-game Darren Waller heroics lead to a Carlson game-winning field goal.
Prediction: Raiders 23 – Colts 20
Week 18: Sun 01/09· 1:25 PM PST – Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
The Silver and Black will waste no time getting to test out their new defense against a recharged Los Angeles team. Allegiant Stadium at home on Monday Night Football (with fans!) should make for an electric atmosphere.
In the end, Carr and the offense get a big day from Henry Ruggs III and Gus Bradley gets revenge over his former team.
Prediction: Raiders 34 – Chargers 28
Las Vegas goes 11-6 and makes the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal