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Predicting The Las Vegas Raiders’ Record In 2023

The NFL is slowly creeping towards veterans reporting for training camp and the inevitable premature hype that is the preseason slate. Most rosters are all but assembled, including the Las Vegas Raiders. Coaching staffs around the league are prepared to sell their higher-ups a bill of goods based on the “why not us?” mantra. Most importantly, for Roger Goodell at league headquarters, fans are eager to believe anything is possible.

Not many fan bases are as hungry for a winner as Raider Nation. Consecutive decades of ineptitude have left supporters of the Silver and Black jaded, to say the least. One silver [and Black] lining we could find? The last two winning seasons for the Raiders came with little-to-no expectations! You will be hard-pressed to find anyone picking Las Vegas to have a quality record, let alone make the postseason in 2023.

Can second-year head coach Josh McDaniels prove the naysayers wrong and give new life to the Autumn Wind? Let’s dissect the Raiders’ upcoming campaign and predict their fate: “Playoff Dark Horse” or “Resident Cellar Dweller?”

This should go without saying, but the win total is dependent upon the health of a certain quarterback who is never healthy, so yeah.

Predicting The Las Vegas Raiders’ Record In 2023

WEEK 1: @ Denver Broncos Sun. 9/10 – 1:25 pm

The season begins with a trip to Mile High. Sean Payton will look to kick off his head coaching tenure in Denver with a win against a Raider squad that has swept the Broncos three years in a row. Denver’s main focus should be ensuring quarterback Russell Wilson’s massive contract doesn’t go down as an all-time albatross, so look for Payton to keep Ciara’s husband in positive situations.

The key to that game plan could be the health of running back Javonte Williams.

The former North Carolina Tar Heel saw his 2022 season cut short due to an injury suffered against Las Vegas. Denver signed Semaje Perine during the offseason, but it is clear the Broncos will need Williams to carry the bulk of the burden as the weeks roll on. Adding a full-strength backfield to a stable of talented, if not underperforming, receivers should give Sean Payton more than enough toys to utilize.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the formidability of Denver’s defense. Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons anchor a young secondary, while Randy Gregory will look to have a bounce-back season off the edge. Despite three straight sweeps, Las Vegas cannot take this team lightly. Expect heavy doses of Josh Jacobs to keep the rush honest and open up routes underneath for rookie Michael Mayer. And, of course, we get to see “Adams vs. PSII,” part three.

Are the Raiders better than the Broncos, who now have a more competent coach that will play to Russ’ skillset? It’s hard to say yes. But it may take time for everything to gel in Denver. McDaniels and co. must take advantage and steal the season opener.

Prediction: Raiders overcome two “Jimmy G” ducks to win a nail biter. 1-0

WEEK 2: @ Buffalo Bills: Sun. 9/17 – 10:00 am

The Josh Allen-led Bills have become one of the best franchises in the entire NFL over the last few seasons. Few teams can boast both a top-five offense and defense with the potential to be even better. Buffalo will enter 2023 as hungry and talented as ever after bolstering their offensive line during free agency and the draft. Safety Jordan Poyer also agreed to return to a defense that could be welcoming back All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller as well. In short, the Raiders are in for a long Sunday.

While anything is possible, I do not see this Raider defense doing much to keep the aforementioned Allen from picking them apart with his arm or his legs. I can already see JA17’s eyes lighting up when an eager Amik Robertson attempts an arm tackle on the perimeter. They’ll have to recover poor Amik from the back of the end zone.

The offensive line will continue to be a concern for Las Vegas as the season wears on, and this game will only add to those worries. Buffalo’s talent-rich front four should become very familiar with Garoppolo.

Prediction: Bills cruise; Allen faces child abuse charges for the Amik Robertson stiff-arm. 1-1

WEEK 3: Pittsburgh Steelers: Sun. 9/24 – 5:00 pm

Las Vegas gets their home-opener against an old rival during primetime.

That’s right, it’s the ‘Tanner Muse Revenge Game’. Or is it the ‘Robert Spillane Revenge Game?’

A late loss to this same Steeler team is what signaled the end of not only the Raiders’ 2022 playoff hopes, but the tenure of now-former Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr. Even with a clear downgrade at the position, the Silver and Black still have a better roster than Pittsburgh. Sure, second-year receiver George Pickens will be difficult to stop, and Najee Harris is still one of the better young backs in the league. However, not even safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and linebacker T.J. Watt can help what should be a very attackable defense.

Also, do we really believe Garoppolo is gonna make a bad first impression in front of all the… uh, beautiful new fans in Allegiant Stadium? This writer thinks not.

Prediction: Jimmy G punches his lifetime membership card for the Bunny Ranch. 2-1

5 Raiders Who Are Definitely Entering Their Final Season In Vegas

WEEK 4: @ Los Angeles Chargers: Sun. 10/1 – 1:00 pm

The Silver and Black get a second-straight home game when they “visit” So-Fi Stadium to take on the Chargers. The usual Herbert-fueled hype train should be full steam ahead by this point in the season. L.A. will be getting their promising young left tackle Rashawn Slater back from injury. On top of that, the team added Quentin Johnston – another big-bodied receiver – via the draft.

The biggest difference for this team will be the hiring of Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator. The former Dallas OC is being tasked with taking Justin Herbert and this weapon-laden offense to the next level.

What hasn’t changed much is the integrity of the Chargers’ defense. Health is the biggest hindrance of this unit and no one will be surprised if it’s reared its ugly head by week four. However, if safety Derwin James, corner J.C. Jackson and the pass-rush duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack are a full-go, things become interesting.

All-Pro edge-rusher Maxx Crosby will still be welcomed by a subpar matchup at right tackle. Dominating the trenches will be paramount for the Raiders to have any chance of escaping with a W.

But man, that Jimmy G.

Prediction: Bosa slams Garoppolo like he slams his helmet after a blown call. 2-2

WEEK 5: Green Bay Packers: Mon 10/9 – 5:15 pm

This one is giving me bad Favre flashbacks.

The Raiders will welcome Green Bay in their second primetime affair within the first five weeks of the season. This isn’t your older brother’s Packers, though. Quarterback and part-time hallucinogen enthusiast Aaron Rodgers followed his third eye to the New York Jets. Former first-round pick Jordan Love will finally get his time to shine with the Big Cheese and has been bestowed a treasure chest of young weapons to grow along with. Not only will Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs look to build tight chemistry with Love, but the Pack also drafted receiver Jayden Reed along with tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tyler Kraft.

Green Bay’s defense seems to have only gotten stronger as well. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith wreck shops on the edge, while Kenny Clark devours space at nose tackle. Rasul Douglas makes a solid complement to Jaire Alexander in the secondary as well.

The Raiders could definitely use the services of a ballhawk such as Douglas, couldn’t they? Former Las Vegas interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who currently serves as the Packers special teams coordinator, even turned Keisean Nixon into a dangerous return man.

Garoppolo was once part of a 49ers team that made life hell for Green Bay when it mattered most. Unfortunately for him, he no longer has the Niners’  defense, offensive line, or coaching staff behind him to cushion the blow from both Gary and Smith.

The Packers were quite susceptible to the ground game in 2022, and the Raiders should look to exploit that.

Prediction: Jimmy completes more than six passes. 3-2

WEEK 6: New England Patriots: Sun 10/15 – 1:15 pm

The Hoodie returned to Allegiant Stadium, but this time he brought an actual offensive coordinator.

The Raiders defeated New England last season in one of the wackiest finishes you will ever see. Now-Raider Jakobi Meyers attempted a massive lateral back to sitting duck quarterback Mac Jones, which was intercepted and returned for a game-sealing touchdown by defensive end Chandler Jones. New England will return with nearly all the same names, adding a few key additions such as tackle Riley Reiff and tight end Mike Gesicki.

All eyes will be on the returning Bill O’Brien, who will take over offensive coordinator duties to help right the Mac Jones ship.

There are too many connective strands to go over, and by now we know all of them. The Raiders are more of a Patriots offshoot at this point than the once-renegade organization we all grew up loving. The only thing missing is undeniable success and a fistful of Super Bowls. Oh, and the great coach. For all of their offensive struggles in 2022, Bill Belichick had the New England defense back in familiar territory as a top-ten unit. The rich only got richer during the NFL draft when Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez, once believed to be a top-10 selection, slid all the way to the Pats at number 17.

Edge rushers Matthew Judon and 2022 breakout player Josh Uche will be more than ready to pounce on any weakness in the Raiders spotty front, as will defensive tackle Christian Barmore. This game will be all about who makes more timely stops.

Lost in last season’s heroics by Chandler Jones was the insane pass thrown to tie the game by Derek Carr. Surely Garoppolo could make a throw like that with the game on the line.

Right?

Prediction: Hoodie laughs the loudest; Josh’s face continues to recede into his neck. 3-3

WEEK 7: @ Chicago Bears: Sun 10/22 – 10:00 am

Early-window east coast games and the Raiders: A match made in heaven

Las Vegas will travel to Chicago to take on Justin Fields and the Bears. After an eventful offseason, the NFC North stalwarts enter 2023 with a bit of hope. Chicago gave their young quarterback a true number-one target in wide receiver D.J. Moore. On defense, the team made key additions to their linebacker room with Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards. They even drafted an offensive tackle—Tennessee standout Darnell Wright—who might actually be willing to block opposing defenders when they try to decapitate Fields!

All that said, this is still one of the few ‘gimmes’ on the Raiders’ schedule up to this point.

Adding Edmunds and Edwards is nice; growth from a young secondary is anticipated as well. However, this Bears’ defense was porous last year, and one well-executed winter can’t fix that. Justin Fields will have his share of highlights, but Vegas should focus on what matters most.

Prediction: Raiders sleepwalk till the fourth. 4-3

Raiders News: PFF Reveals Chandler Jones Signing As Massive Misstep By Dave Ziegler

WEEK 8: @ Detroit Lions: Sun 10/30 – 5:15 pm

The hype is high when it comes to the Detroit Lions. Based on the team’s immense offensive talent and young, hungry defense, it’s easy to understand. For all Jared Goff’s shortcomings, he’s found a way to make the Lions the favorite to win the NFC North. The Lions even bucked all draft trends by taking running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the top 12. They would follow that selection with linebacker Jack Campbell at 18th overall.

Draft pundits be damned, the Lions know what they want, and they go and get it.

This is the type of offense that should give the Raiders fits. They can run the ball with newly acquired RB David Montgomery, let Gibbs chew up real estate on short routes, attack over the middle with rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, or allow wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to go to town on the outside. And unfortunately for Las Vegas, receiver Jameson Williams will be back from his suspension by this point (barring any other gambling gaffs).

The good news is that this should be a Monday Night Football shootout. Neither defense is expected to be outstanding, even with each carrying at least one quality pass rusher of note. Hutchinson and Crosby will each be the center of the game plan when looking at the opposing units.

Of course, this is only good news for viewers. Not for the Raiders.

Prediction: Dan Campbell does burpees for every point scored. 4-4

WEEK 9: New York Giants: Sun 11/05 – 1:25 pm

The Raiders will face the Giants in Las Vegas, but we all know what the story will be – the return of recently traded tight end Darren Waller. Josh McDaniels lauded the former Pro Bowler with praise before promptly shipping him off while he was on his Honeymoon. What McDaniels lacks in mid-game adjustments, he makes up for in pettiness.

Brian Daboll turned the Giants into a surprise playoff team in 2022, subsequently getting once-maligned QB Daniel Jones a nice pay-day. Saquon Barkley was once again the dominant running back the world knew he could be, and the New York defense returned to form as a stout unit after the departure of “Black Picasso”; current Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham).

If rookie receiver Jaylin Hyatt can stretch the field the way he did at the University of Tennessee, the Giants could be a major threat in the NFC. But, even if Hyatt isn’t the threat he’s projected to be, Darren Waller will be more than enough to bludgeon a subpar Las Vegas secondary into submission while his wife, Las Vegas Aces’ star Kelsey Plum, looks on with approval.

Prediction: Waller messes around and gets a triple double. 4-5

WEEK 10: New York Jets: Sun. 11/12 – 5:20 pm

Las Vegas gets back-to-back bites out of the Big Apple.

Aaron Rodgers and the Jets come to town for a Sunday night affair between two teams with completely opposite trajectories. New York finally landed the QB that could put them over the hump. With Rodgers and a fantastic defense, Super Bowl or bust is the mindset in the Meadowlands. The same cannot be said for the Raiders.

Rodgers had interest in coming to Vegas to reunite with his former All-Pro teammate Davante Adams – a move Dave Ziegler elected not to make after hearing Green Bay’s steep demands.

On one hand, this was a smart move by the Raiders’ front office. This team is not “a QB away” from contending for a title. On the other hand, it’s Aaron Rodgers we’re talking about! Alas, A-Rod will be visiting Allegiant this fall as just that; a visitor.

And he’s bringing a rather loaded offense with him.

The Jets O-Line could be as big of a question mark as the Raiders, with the difference being the quarterbacks entrusted to navigate the landmines. Count Mr. Discount Double Check as another player that can’t wait to catch Jimmy G without an all-world defense backing him up.

Prediction: Davante Adams is caught on camera telling A-Rod, “Come Get Me!” 4-6

WEEK 11: @ Miami Dolphins: Sun. 11/19 – 10:00 am

The Dolphins are like a fine-tuned race car. At nearly every skill position they are built for speed. But even with all those beautiful features, they’re trying to get across the finish line with balding tires.

I’m looking at you, Tua.

All jokes aside, if the Dolphins’ often-injured quarterback can remain upright and deliver the football, a receiver will be open to catch it. Miami already had its fair share of track stars on offense with Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert. However, the fast got faster – some may even say, ‘2 Fast’ – as the team added Chosen Anderson and Devon Achane via free agency and the draft, respectively. Head coach Mike McDaniel just has to keep his QB healthy, and the sky’s the limit in South Beach, which means big trouble for Las Vegas.

And, as if this wasn’t already a tough enough matchup on one side of the ball, a secondary that already included Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland recently added Super Bowl champion cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey performed well last season against Davante and will look to do so again in this game. Add in an emerging front-seven that includes the likes of Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips, and old AFC West foe Bradley Chubb, and faith in the Raiders winning this game has gone the way of a passenger in Tyrese’s Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Ejecto Seato.

Prediction: Just forget about it, Cuz. 4-7

Davante Adams Says He’s “Excited” To Play With Jimmy Garoppolo; Bad News For Tyree Wilson Starting Camp

WEEK 12: Kansas City Chiefs: Sun. 11/26 – 1:25 pm

The recipes for these matchups with the defending world champions go along the lines of two types of scripts.

The first sees the Raiders play heavily into their deserved underdog placement, making the game interesting for at least two or three quarters before inevitably collapsing under the weight of a much better coach and roster deployed by the Chiefs.

The second one? Have you ever seen that gif or meme of the shirtless kid playing video games with tears in his eyes? He’s clearly frustrated—whether it’s a result of superior play from his opponent or some unseen forces of nature, things refuse to go his way. Yeah, that kid is with the Raiders. The only time the Silver and Black have ever flipped the outcome on Andy Reid’s squad was when they got an amazing play from a quarterback that, last we checked, is no longer on the roster.

Short and sweet, I’d give the Bye Week a better shot at beating KC at home in December than I would Josh McDaniels and this Vegas roster as currently constructed. The Chiefs will return nearly every major piece from their title roster, including that Pat Mahomes guy everyone seems to rave about. Unless Josh Jacobs is in good enough shape to dawn the Infinity Gauntlet and gather the power of every other great back in league history, things will not be going the way of Mark Davis’s darlings.

Prediction: Cameramen will come equipped with pepper spray. 4-8

*On to the bye week (13).

WEEK 14: Minnesota Vikings: Sun. 12/10 – 1:00 pm

Nobody rocks more ice than a victorious Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings may have their clearest path to an NFC North title in ages if their defense cooperates. Cousins and the offense are more than capable of putting big points on the board. Justin Jefferson may be the only true alternative to the best receiver in football, and Minnesota just gave him a complimentary running mate in USC standout Jordan Addison. Add in tight end T.J. Hockenson and two capable tailbacks in Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison as well, and the points should come in bunches.

But, oh boy, that defense could become an issue. It is because of that question, especially in the pass-rushing department, that this is a trap game for Minny. That’s right; after four consecutive losses, Vegas gets off the skid with a shootout victory. Adams and Co. should see their fair share of openings outside. Without a dominant rush to contend with, Jimmy G should be able to complete middling passes in bunches (if he’s even healthy by this point).

Prediction: Kirk, unsurprisingly, does NOT like that. 5-8

WEEK 15: Los Angeles Chargers: Sun. 12/14 – 5:15 pm

We should all expect this game to be flexed out of the Thursday Night Football rotation expeditiously. LAC may be well within the thick of the playoff race, but Raider fans will have their eyes glued to the draft order by this point. Much like no one should expect Garoppolo to be healthy at this point of the year, the same can be said for the Chargers. If the usually ‘Bruised Bolts’ are intact in Week 15, they might finally be victorious in front of fans at Allegiant Stadium.

They won’t be Charger fans, but still.

Prediction: Maxx cracks five sacks as Raiders Lack a Victor’s Tact. 5-9

WEEK 16: @ Kansas City Chiefs: Sun. 12/25 – 10:00 am

Making families watch this decimation after opening Christmas presents should be considered a terrorist act.

Allow me to provide more suitable Yule Tide entertainment down below. You’re welcome.

Prediction: McDaniels gets caught smooching with Andy Reid’s brother. 5-10

WEEK 17: @ Indianapolis Colts: Sun. 12/31 – 10:00 am

Florida Gator alum Anthony Richardson should have quite a few starts under his belt when Las Vegas rolls into town. Much was made about how well new Colts head coach Shane Steichen utilized Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts during his breakout campaign in 2022. While Richardson arguably has a larger war-chest of natural gifts at his disposal, it will likely take more time for all of his skills to be groomed properly.

Even so, the Colts cannot be looked at as an easy victory. 2021 rushing champion Jonathan Taylor underperformed last season, but a new regime should bring rejuvenation to the four-year veteran. The receiving core won’t keep coordinators up at night; Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce provide a blend of athleticism and size not many teams can deploy. Rookie wideout Josh Downs should see plenty of opportunity in the slot as well.

Defensively, the Colts don’t scare anyone on paper, but they could turn into a solid unit this season under former Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The front seven, anchored by linebacker Shaquille Leonard and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, is full of talent and potential. Kwity Paye should continue his development on the edge, and Grover Stewart has the makings of a quality running mate with Buckner.

Still, the Raiders should come away with a win here. While rushing yards could become tough to acquire for Jacobs, the passing game should be able to take advantage of an average secondary.

Prediction: Like the 2021 Hard Knocks episode, with none of the playoff implications! 6-10

WEEK 18: Denver Broncos: TBD

Word is this game is going to be played behind Mark Davis’s favorite P.F. Chang’s in Las Vegas.

Neither of these teams strike me as playoff contenders, but they hate each other enough to make this game semi-watchable. There’s good news and bad news for Raider Nation here. The good news is the Broncos will be exacting revenge for their opening-week loss. The bad? Even with this loss, Las Vegas won’t even sniff USC quarterback Caleb Williams in next year’s draft. Who knows, maybe they can talk themselves into Drake Maye.

By this point in the season, I doubt Davante Adams is even playing with his signature visor. He’ll want Pat Surtain II to see the utter depression in his eyes pre-snap. The team invites to the Taco Bell DA’s living room have been lost in the mail for weeks. Brian Baldinger will have composed his 15th video compilation of Maxx Crosby almost-sacks in double-digit losses. Maxx will begrudgingly acknowledge the tweet with a halfhearted flame emoji.

Josh Jacobs? He’s already got teams lined up should the Raiders not give him a long-term deal. Josh McDaniels’ chin has succeeded in becoming one with his neck. Media members will question if he’s shrank or if the podium has been raised at every postgame presser filled with Belichick-like quotes from a pupil that couldn’t be any further from his teacher. Mark Davis is none the wiser; he’s busy being fined by the WNBA for attempting to coax Sue Bird out of retirement to ring chase with the Aces.

Prediction: Let’s Ride, straight to Hell. 6-11

*Top Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images

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