Las Vegas Raiders HC Josh McDaniels

Las Vegas Raiders announce their 2023 schedule – Which Week is the most pivotal?

Good news, Raider Nation – the Las Vegas Raiders have announced their schedule for the 2023 NFL season. From Week 1 to Week 18, fans now know what to expect from September to December, and beyond. In case you missed it, here’s the full schedule for the upcoming season:

After an extremely disappointing 6-11 season, the pressure is on for the Raiders to stack up wins. All-Pro wideout Davante Adams needs a reason to stay happy, All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs needs a reason to stick around, and the tandem of head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler need to prove to Mark Davis that Davis got it right when he hired them.

A pivotal season indeed.

Here, us Ramblers took a look at the schedule, noting which contest we each thought was the most pivotal for the Raiders this upcoming season. Not only did we each choose a game, but we explained our thinking behind the picks.

This is what we came up with.

Ramblers state which contest they believe is the most pivotal for the Raiders in 2023, and why

Week 1, @ Denver Broncos – Phil Robinson (@PhilRobinsonIII)

The most important game on the Las Vegas Raiders’ schedule is Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. Week 17, of 2019, was the last time the Broncos defeated the Silver and Black. In the last eight meetings, the Raiders have won seven of them. But things are different now.

Sean Payton has been an elite-level offensive head coach for years in the NFL. For years, the Broncos have had high-level offensive weaponry at their disposal. Somehow, they haven’t had the X’s and O’s or consistent play at the quarterback position to maximize it. Russell Wilson had surgery to repair his knee this offseason and the Broncos signed Jarrett Stidham to be his backup quarterback.

There is no more-important game to win than the first one. The Raiders have dominated the Broncos under three different coaches: Jon Gruden, Rich Bisaccia and Josh McDaniels. The Raiders also are with a new quarterback at the helm, and thus far McDaniels has much more to prove in terms of production.

Week 1, @ Denver Broncos – Hunter Haas (@NFLDraftHaas)

The Raiders will attempt to stay out of the cellar in the AFC West in 2023. To do so, Vegas needs to perform well against its divisional foe to open the season. The Broncos are coming off an abysmal campaign; the new-look Raiders should aim to make a statement when they travel to Mile High on September 10th. It’s not often the first week determines the trajectory for an entire season, but this is a tone-setting matchup to kick things off.

Beyond Week 1

Week 3, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cam Archer (@CamArcher)

The schedule has very few outright winnable games and this is arguably the first one. If the Raiders lay an egg, fans should brace themselves for a rather rocky fall.

Week 5, vs. Green Bay Packers (MNF) – Ray Aspuria (@AsukalAspuria)

No matter what precedes this matchup – the Raiders first-four games are going to tell us a lot – this is a must-win game at home on Monday Night.

Week 5, vs. Green Bay Packers (MNF) – Raiding The Kingdom (@RaidTheKingdom)

The Raiders are on the big stage on Monday Night Football hosting the Packers. Davante Adams, arguably the Raiders best player, has the opportunity to beat his former team at home. Las Vegas needs to win this one for Adams to show the world he made the right decision.

It’s not unreasonable to think the Raiders will be 4-2 after Week 6.

Week 7, @ Chicago Bears – Alex Monfreda (@AlexMonfreda)

In the first six weeks, the Raiders face off against Denver, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (Chargers), Green Bay, and New England.

Although Las Vegas finished with a mere six wins in 2022, they managed to sweep the Broncos, just as they’ve done each season since 2020. A very winnable game, to say the least. Buffalo is a major challenge, but Pittsburgh should be much easier. Chargers have split the season series with the Raiders each year since Justin Herbert came into the league, and Green Bay is adjusting to life without 4x MVP Aaron Rodgers. Lastly, there’s New England, who lost their top receiver since 2020 – and watched him reunite with Josh McDaniels in the desert.

It’s not unreasonable to think Las Vegas will be 4-2 after Week 6.

Whether the team is 4-2 or 3-3 at this mark, the contest against Chicago in Week 7 will mean everything moving forward. If the Silver and Black hold a record of 4-2 going into the week, 5-2 gives the team a lot of breathing room. Assuming this record came to be with wins over Green Bay and New England, two of the Raiders’ weaker opponents during their first six contests, a win over Chicago would ensure a three-game winning streak.

That’s a lot of momentum as the season roars on.

If the team is 3-3 prior to the game, a win puts Las Vegas back above .500, giving much-needed life at a key part in the season. Either way, this game will likely make-or-break the Raiders’ upcoming season.

*Top photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

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