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Las Vegas Raiders Betting Preview 2021

Las Vegas Raiders 2021 Team Analysis

A franchise that has moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and back is now settling into Las Vegas and its brand-new stadium this season.

The Raiders are on the outside looking in of the AFC West and this is not something that is expected to change anytime soon. With the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs boasting young star quarterbacks, I do think this has a major impact on the Raiders as there are clear reasons for them to sell and rebuild sooner rather than later. This should definitely impact the way you look at this season because I expect the Raiders to be aggressive at the trade deadline.

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Las Vegas Raiders 2021 Schedule Analysis

Week

Date

Opponent

Week 1

Sept. 13

at Baltimore Ravens

Week 2

Sept. 19

at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 3

Sept. 26

at Miami Dolphins

Week 4

Oct. 4

at Los Angeles Chargers

Week 5

Oct. 10

at Chicago Bears

Week 6

Oct. 17

at Denver Broncos

Week 7

Oct. 24

at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 8

Oct. 31

Bye Week

Week 9

Nov. 7

at New York Giants

Week 10

Nov. 14

at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 11

Nov. 21

at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 12

Nov. 25

at Dallas Cowboys

Week 13

Dec. 5

at Washington Football Team

Week 14

Dec. 12

at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 15

TBD

at Cleveland Browns

Week 16

Dec. 26

at Denver Broncos

Week 17

Jan. 2

at Indianapolis Colts

Week 18

Jan. 9

at Los Angeles Chargers

The Raiders have the toughest schedule in the NFL by expected win totals. This is not going to make anything easier on a team that probably doesn’t have the talent to overcome a tough schedule over 18 weeks. The Raiders have flashed high upside games in weird spots, like a win last season over the Chiefs where they scored 40 points, but this isn’t something that they can do game in and game out.

The Raider have the obvious matchups with their divisional opponents twice a season along with matchups with the AFC North and the NFC East. The AFC North should be on the rise with clear playoff contenders in the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens and the emergence of the Burrow-led Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers running it back with Ben Roethlisberger. The NFC East doesn’t have clear firepower, but units like the Washington defense and the Dallas offense will make games vs this division uncomfortable at best.

Las Vegas Raiders News & Picks

The Raiders enter training camp with a lot of odd pieces that just seem to have little direction. They have been keen on drafting players from elite programs with significant experience, but this hasn’t resulted in home runs in the draft. That combined with Derek Carr at QB means this is a contact-hitting team with no power and a questionable staff. In other words, no one is scared to take on the Raiders outside of the guy that is tasked with covering tight end Darren Waller for 60 minutes.

The Raiders overall team total is 7½ wins and I like the under on this for reasons that we will get into later. Seeing this team finish at almost .500 with that schedule would be a legitimate surprise to most in the NFL. If they do decide to reset a bit at the deadline, this could be a team more focused on the No. 1 draft pick than they are winning games in September. I have a feeling that Jon Gruden would love to be able to say “Spencer Rattler” for the foreseeable future and give the team a reasonable window to reset and compete with the top teams in the division.

Las Vegas Raiders Key Players

Henry Ruggs

Ruggs? Over Derek Carr? Sound crazy?. Anyways, Carr is consistently average and we all know what we are getting out of him this season and beyond. However, the biggest question mark for this team’s success is wide receiver Ruggs and his development. The Raiders took Ruggs over guys like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson and that this could be the year that they must prove that they didn’t make a horrible decision. Two of these three guys smashed in Year One and Jeudy was still better than Ruggs despite dealing with bad QB play in Denver.

Ruggs was underwhelming at best and struggled to demand targets like you’d hope he would. With the Raiders losing Nelson Agholor, you’d expect Ruggs to make a jump, but this can only come if he is a more polished receiver this time around. If Ruggs appears to be a bust, that could signal a full rebuild as this team really hasn’t capitalized on the picks they’ve had at the top of the draft.

Darren Waller

Waller is probably the best player on this roster as one of the top three tight ends in the league. A lot will be on his shoulders when it comes to the offensive load this season. The Raiders lost more targets than they expect to get back and that means Waller could be in store for a historic year at tight end, especially after a massive end to the season. It will be interesting to see if Waller is on the trading block for a big haul if the Raiders did decide to reset.

Las Vegas Raiders New Additions

The Raiders were very active in the offseason, adding Yannick Ngakoue and Casey Hayward on the defense to help stabilize the team and provide a bit of star power to a team lacking those feature players. I like these additions to swing for the fence on talent, but they could definitely not produce and become bad signings very quickly. Kenyan Drake seems like an underwhelming addition on offense for a team that struggles to get the best out of Josh Jacobs, a better running back.

The draft was underwhelming from an upside standpoint that will pop from Year One. The Raiders did a good job at adding talent to the roster, but the bigger issue is that it isn’t talent that will immediately elevate the team very much. The Raiders have not pursued the flashy players in the draft and this was no different, adding positions like offensive line, safety and linebacker. Expect multiple starters but no difference makers here.

Key Subtractions

This team lost a lot of salary and contributors from last season. Notable players leaving are Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown, Agholor, Malcolm Brown, Takkarist McKinley, Gabe Jackson, and Maliek Collins. This left more holes on the offensive side of the ball than they replaced in the offseason and it is one of the reasons that Raiders need Ruggs to emerge as a legitimate No. 1 receiver next to Waller.

Divisional Outlook

We’ve hit on it a couple times, but this division is brutal and the Chiefs up at the top make it very hard to imagine anyone else is winning the division. If someone else does, it should be the Chargers. The Chargers are continuing to develop and should be the team that gets into the playoffs regardless of Kansas City’s record. The Broncos were theoretically an Aaron Rodgers trade away from being Super Bowl contenders and I don’t think we could say the same about the Raiders. The Broncos are searching for answers at QB, but have enough talent to win games in spite of the QB play at times.

Las Vegas Raiders Offense

The offense was actually in the top half of the NFL in most scoring offense stats last season. This season should be much tougher after losing veteran offensive linemen and likely relying on very young players to fill those roles along with the losses of Tyrell Williams and Agholor at receiver. I also see a lot of young teams on the rise offensively that could very well boost their numbers this year.

Las Vegas Raiders Defense

The Raiders really struggled defensively last season and that is why they added a few veteran defenders in free agency. However, those guys are not enough and I really don’t see a path to a good defense. That being said, the 30th defense in one season can be the 18th-best the next season with no major changes due to the nature of scoring in the NFL. In the end, I expect this defense to be among the worst in the NFL, especially considering their schedule.

Las Vegas Raider FAQ

What is the Las Vegas Raiders' all-time record?

481-440-11

Who owns the Las Vegas Raiders?

Mark Clark Davis owns the Raiders.

How many Super Bowls have the Las Vegas Raiders won?

Three (1977, 1981, 1984)

Who is the quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders?

Derek Carr. 

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