The Las Vegas Raiders open up the regular season against the Denver Broncos this Sunday afternoon. With a new campaign comes a fresh batch of predictions. Luckily for Raider Nation, we have a crystal ball at our disposal.
Predicting the NFL season is always a tricky task, but there are few doubts with the Raiders—at least if you ask me. Without further ado, it is time to attempt to forecast the ebbs and flows of the 2023 regular season, rapid-fire style. Get your popcorn ready; the season-long predictions get underway right now.
Play The Schedule Game
Week 1 @ Denver Broncos – Win
Denver is missing two of its top four pass-catching options entering this contest. Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs took it to the Broncos in 2022, earning the sweep last season. They have even more help now. The Broncos can key on them if they want to, but Jimmy Garoppolo will find the open man.
Week 2 @ Buffalo Bills – Loss
Josh Allen is a beast; typically, quarterbacks capable of extending plays have given the Raiders defensive coordinators nightmares. The Bills’ defense is one of the stingiest, and their front four is as formidable as they come. It could be a long afternoon for the Silver and Black.
Week 3 (Sunday Night Football) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Win
The Steelers haven’t beaten the Raiders at home since December 10, 1995. Kenny Pickett is still developing, and Najee Harris doesn’t have Johnathan Abram to stiff-arm onto another team’s practice squad. The back end of the Steelers defense doesn’t strike fear, and quick throws will negate their blitzes.
Week 4 @ Los Angeles Chargers – Loss
These two teams have split the yearly series since Chargers head coach Brandon Staley started coaching games based on analytics. History has shown that the home team usually emerges victorious in their head-to-head matchups — the Bolts should seize the win in Week 4.
MNF vs. Green Bay Is A Pivotal Matchup For Vegas
Week 5 (Monday Night Football) vs. Green Bay Packers – Win
Until Jordan Love shows he can take over for Aaron Rodgers and Christian Watson can find a way to magically cure his hamstring, we shouldn’t believe in Green Bay’s ability to Pack the scoreboard with points. Raiders win.
Week 6 vs. New England Patriots – Win
It would be wrong to write off the Patriots. But without Tom Brady, it isn’t the same in New England. Bill Belichick is rebuilding and hoping that Bill O’Brien can reignite Mac Jones. The defense is solid, but nothing to lose sleep over as of Week 1.
Week 7 @ Chicago Bears – Win
Justin Fields runs well with the football, but his passing attack hasn’t met expectations. A new offensive philosophy may help, but this is a bad matchup for the Bears.
Week 8 (Monday Night Football) @ Detroit Lions – Loss
The Lions’ physical offensive line may prove to be too much for the Raiders’ defense. The Lions’ front end is tenacious, and it will genuinely offer Vegas some problems in the run game and pass protection. Inversely, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson may out-genius himself, ignore the layups, and try to dink-and-dunk the Raiders to death, but as for now, Detroit takes this victory.
Week 9 vs. New York Giants – Loss
The game against the Lions is going to be a blood bath, but playing the Giants on a short week will be even tougher. Brian Daboll is an offensive genius, and there should be a battle of top running backs between Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley. The Raiders don’t have anyone to cover Darren Waller at tight end. He will kill them and ultimately lead to their demise.
Raiders vs. Jets: The Aaron Rodgers Bowl
Week 10 (Sunday Night Football) vs. New York Jets – Win
Late-night West Coast games for East Coast teams are reciprocal to the early morning East Coast start for West Coast teams. It will be an absolute dogfight of a game, but the home team will prevail as the Raiders get the dub.
Week 11 @ Miami Dolphins – Loss
Speed kills, and the Dolphins have it in spades. If Tua can remain healthy and protected, the Raiders’ defense will have their work cut out for them. Traveling to the East Coast of a party city may cost the Silver and Black.
Week 12 vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Win
This game is the reason why Jimmy Garoppolo was brought to Vegas. The Raiders have been a bad decision or two away from beating the Chiefs for the last two years. Defensively, they are well-equipped to handle the Chiefs’ offensive line, running backs, and receivers. The team will finally put it all together and get that win over the most vulnerable installment of the Chiefs they have seen in years.
Week 13 Bye Week
Week 14 vs. Minnesota Vikings – Win
This game has a shootout written all over it. The Raiders will look to contain Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison. If they can keep them out of the end zone, they can win, as the Vikings’ defense isn’t what it used to be.
The Silver And Black Avenge Themselves vs. The Chargers
Week 15 vs. Los Angeles Chargers – Win
The football cosmos restore harmony, and the Raiders win at home in a close game down to the wire over the Chargers. God bless Chargers coach Staley and his bone-headed decision-making.
Week 16 (Monday Night Football) @ Kansas City Chiefs – Loss
Raiders get Patrick Mahomes’d down the stretch on the road in pursuit of the 10th win of the season. The Chiefs may not be to their typical standard right now, but Chris Jones and Travis Kelce will surely be back by then. That is enough to tilt the scale in Kansas City’s favor.
Week 17 @ Indianapolis Colts – Win
Raiders claim victory here over rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson and a Colts team that could still be without Jonathan Taylor. Indy is in the midst of a rebuild with a new coaching staff, and by this point of the season, they should be scrambling for moral victories.
Week 18 vs. Denver Broncos – Win
At home, in a matchup for the Raiders’ 11th win and a trip to the playoffs, the locker room should have plenty of motivation. Not to mention that it will come in a contest vs. the Broncos. The Silver and Black cap off a strong campaign by winning three of the final four games down the stretch.
Season-Long Raiders Record Prediction: 11-6
Could Vegas Host A Playoff Game?
An 11-6 record may be good enough to win the AFC West, as the Kansas City Chiefs must come back to Earth at some point. Not winning the division will be the only thing that keeps the Raiders from hosting a playoff game at the site of Super Bowl LVIII.
*Top Photo: Raiders.com