Jon Gruden's second head coaching stint with the Raiders hasn't produced a playoff appearance after three seasons. Can Gruden finally get the Raiders over the hump in 2021?
It was a disappointing first season in Las Vegas for the Raiders as they finished 8-8 and missed the postseason for the fourth straight year. Entering year four under head coach Jon Gruden, there is plenty of expectation from a fanbase that is starting to lose their patience with this team. Is this the year Gruden and the Raiders make the leap to the playoffs?
Notable Draft Picks
OT Alex Leatherwood, S Trevon Moehrig, DE/OLB Malcolm Koonce, LB/S Divine Deablo, S Tyree Gillespie
WR Nelson Agholor, WR Tyrell Williams, TE Jason Witten, OT Trent Brown, G Gabe Jackson, C Rodney Hudson, DE Arden Key, DE Takk McKinley, DT Maurice Hurst, OLB Vic Beasley, S Erik Harris, S Lamarcus Joyner, S Jeff Heath
Las Vegas Raiders Acquisitions and Moves
The Raiders had an underrated offence that was Top-10 in most statistical categories last season. Las Vegas added to that offence in the offseason by signing running back Kenyan Drake to backup Josh Jacobs. Drake is one of the fastest players in the NFL and he set career highs in total rushing yards (955), touchdowns (10) and average yards per carry (15.9) last year.
The offensive line, which has been considered the best in football for the last two seasons, was overhauled after losing three of last year’s starters. Right tackle Trent Brown, right guard Gabe Jackson and centre Rodney Hudson were all traded in the offseason. Left guard Richie Incognito was originally released, before resigning a few week later. Rookie Alex Leatherwood should start at right tackle after being drafted 17th overall in 2021.
The biggest defensive addition was the hiring of Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator to replace Paul Guenther, who was fired midseason last year. New additions to the defensive line include Yannick Ngakoue, Solomon Thomas and Quinton Jefferson. The defensive line was the Raiders’ weak point last season, so it should see huge improvement in 2021.
Las Vegas Raiders 2021 NFL Schedule
The Raiders weren’t given any favours in the schedule. They have the eighth-hardest schedule based on their opponents’ combined record in 2020. Still, they should be able to beat up on NFC East teams like the Eagles and Giants, who they play on either side of their Week 8 bye.
Week 1: Monday, Sept. 13 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 19 @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 26 vs. Miami Dolphins, 4:05 p.m.
Week 4: Monday, October 4 @ Los Angeles Chargers, 8:15 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10 vs. Chicago Bears, 4:05 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17 @ Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 4:05 p.m.
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7 @ New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14 vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 4:05 p.m.
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 25 @ Dallas Cowboys, 4:30
Week 13: Sunday, December 5 vs. Washington Football Team, 4:05 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12 @ Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Week 15: TBD @ Cleveland Browns
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26 vs. Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2 @ Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Week 18: Sunday, Jan. 9 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
Las Vegas Raiders NFL Betting Odds
Thanks to being stuck in the AFC West, the Raiders are +346 to make the playoffs. Their regular season win total is set at 6.5, which I still see them struggling to hit, so I like the Under at +148. In fact, Las Vegas is +1200 to win the least amount of regular season games in the NFL. They also easily have the longest odds to win the AFC West at +1532, trailing the Broncos (+566), Chargers (+496) and Chiefs (-333).
Las Vegas Raiders 2021 Season Prediction
It’s honestly a little shocking that the Raiders were able to cling to their playoff hopes as deep into the season as they did last year. Their defence was terrible and their quarterback was propped up by an elite offensive line. The defence doesn’t look like it’s improved much and that elite offensive line is gone. Mark the Raiders down to finish last in the AFC West with a 5-12 record.