As the 2022 NFL season inches closer, it is time to start looking ahead. With lots of additions in the offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders are sure to play in many big games. Many of these are likely to come against the loaded AFC West.
In a recent piece by NFL Media’s Adam Rank, he touched on all the key topics surrounding the Raiders. One of those topics was him laying out the three most important games for the Raiders this upcoming season. While they may be obvious, these are clearly the three biggest games for Las Vegas.
Which three games did Adam Rank pick for the Las Vegas Raiders?
Week 1 @ the Los Angeles Chargers
Of course, the first game of the season is a big one for every team. In a game that will surely set the tone for the season as a whole, the Raiders will visit LA to renew acquaintances with the Chargers.
The last time these two AFC West foes faced off, the playoffs were on the line in Las Vegas. While the Raiders would win that game to secure a playoff spot, the teams delivered an instant classic that truly could have gone either way by the game’s end.
With the Chargers looking for some revenge, they will be doing so with a team even better than the one they fielded in 2021. With both J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack in town to complement their elite young quarterback on offense, they will be a tough out once again in 2022. Whenever these two teams match up, it has the potential to be one of the year’s best games.
Week 4 vs the Denver Broncos
Of all the massive trades made in the offseason, perhaps none were bigger than the one that sent quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos. Since he was drafted, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His addition changes the whole AFC.
Over the last two seasons, the Raiders have had no problems with Denver. In fact, they have gone 4-0 against them over the last two seasons. With a pretty loaded team before the addition of Wilson, the Broncos under new head coach Nathaniel Hackett believe they have the talent to win the division in 2022.
“The week after this, the Raiders take on the Chiefs—meaning they will have played half of their AFC West slate before their Week 6 bye,” says Rank. One of the most crucial stretches of the Raiders’ season, this one will kick it off.
The Raiders and an old foe will collide in 2022
Week 16 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers
As Rank mentions, this game will have some historical context surrounding it as it will take place on the anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. In one of the NFL’s most iconic plays, Franco Harris and the Steelers would knock the Raiders out of the playoffs back in 1972.
Heading into 2022, the Steelers have undergone a massive change. No longer is Ben Roethlisberger leading the way on offense; they now have a quarterback battle between Mitchell Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett. Despite Roethlisberger’s legendary status, the offense is likely to be even better without him, as he was a shell of himself last season.
Much like the teams the Raiders went to war with during the seventies, the Steelers will once again be led by great defense. In what promises to be a great callback to one of the league’s best rivalries, this game could also have massive implications for the AFC playoff picture.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Isaac Brekken