Now, that the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders’ regular season schedule has been released and we’ve had time to let it all sink in, I have some thoughts.
Yes, it’s not easy ...
I have seen the Raiders’ 2021 schedule ranked as the hardest or close to the most difficult in the NFL. There is no doubt that it’s not easy, but the AFC was loaded last year and that is just a reality. No excuses. Play the games and if the Raiders are as good as they hope to be, the schedule won’t be tough. If they aren’t improved, they will struggle. That’s life in the NFL.
December-January is rough:
Really, the tough ending stretch of the schedule begins on Thanksgiving Day at the Dallas Cowboys. That is never an easy task, though. Then of course, the Raiders have back-to-back games at the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns in late December. That stretch could determine if the Raiders are going to stay in the playoff race. Then there is a Week 17 trip to the Indianapolis Colts that might be tough sledding. At least it will be played inside ...
Starting fast is key:
A lot of folks are focusing on the end of the season but the beginning of the year isn’t easy either. The Raiders open the season with a home game against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football; a road game at the Pittsburgh Steelers; a home game against the Miami Dolphins; and a Monday night road game at the Los Angeles Chargers. All four of those teams could be playoff competitors of the Raiders in the AFC. So, these are all vital games.
I hate the 17-game schedule:
Yes, it will be cool to see the Raiders play against Khalil Mack in Las Vegas and the Chicago Bears game wouldn’t be happening if the NFL kept the 16-game schedule. But overall, I don’t like the concept of the 17-game regular season. It’s too long and it muddies the waters. Having the regular season end on January 9 is ridiculous. The Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings on that date in 1977. How things have changed.