With the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 regular season schedule set, it’s time to rank the games in order of difficultly.
Of course, there are so many unexpected variables in the NFL, but this is what we think will be the hardest and easiest games as we sit here in late May looking towards September.
Let’s start with the toughest first and count down to what I project will be the easiest.
Dec. 12 at Kansas City Chiefs 10 am PT on CBS
This is the biggest game of the year. Will the Raiders be able to take a victory lap at Arrowhead Stadium for a second straight year? The weather could be awful and the Chiefs’ offensive line is improved so that will be tough. It should be a hell of a game.
Dec. 18 or 19 at Cleveland Browns TBD
This is the back end of a brutal — and cold — road trip. Bit the Raiders handled the terrible windy conditions better than the Browns did in Cleveland last season. They may have to repeat that feat.
Nov. 14 vs. Kansas City Chiefs 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC
This is the biggest home game of the season for Las Vegas. They played toe-to-toe with the Chiefs twice last season. If they can win this game, it will be a great boost for the stretch run.
Nov. 25 at Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving Day) at 1:30 p.m. PT on CBS
This is a sneaky tough game. The Raiders will be on a short week and Dallas is a special place on Turkey Day.
Jan. 2 at Indianapolis Colts at 10 a.m. PT on CBS
The Raiders and Colts may be both in a playoff push in Week 17. The Colts, now with Carson Wentz at quarterback, are solid. The good news is this first game of 2022 will be played in a dome.
Sep. 13 vs. Baltimore Ravens (Monday night) at 5:15 p.m. on ESPN
There is a lot of pressure on the Raiders in Week 1. They will be playing in Las Vegas in front of fans for the first time on a Monday Night Football showcase. The new look defense must shut down Lamar Jackson.
Sep. 19 at Pittsburgh Steelers 10 a.m. PT on CBS
Ben Roethlisberger should be healthy in Week 2. A trip to the ‘Burgh is never easy.
Oct. 4 at Los Angeles Chargers (Monday night) at 5:15 p.m. PT on ESPN
Raiders’ fans need to take over SoFI Stadium like they did in San Diego and Carson when the Chargers played there.
Sep. 26 vs. Miami Dolphins 1:05 p.m. PT on CBS
The Dolphins won at Allegiant Stadium last season and they should be better in 2021. This is not an easy game.
Jan. 9 vs. Los Angeles Chargers 1:25 p.m. PT on CBS
This is not an ideal season finale. The Chargers battled the Raiders hard in 2020 and quarterback Justin Herbert should be better than he was as a rookie, which was pretty dang good.
Dec. 5 vs. Washington Football Team 1:05 p.m. PT on FOX
Washington has a chance to be really good in 2021, especially on defense. Not a cakewalk to start December for the home team.
Oct. 10 vs. Chicago Bears 1:05 P.M. PT on CBS
It will be interesting to see if rookie quarterback Justin Fields will be playing by then. If so, it could be a very different game.
Oct. 17 at Denver Broncos 1:25 p.m. on CBS
If Aaron Rodgers is the Mile High City, this could be a problem. If he’s gone, then not so much.
Oct. 24 Philadelphia Eagles 1:05 p.m. on FOX
I think the Eagles could be really bad in 2021 ... let’s see if they prove me wrong.
Nov. 7 at New York Giants 10 a.m. on CBS
If the weather isn’t horrible (and it shouldn’t be this early), this is a very winnable game for the Silver and Black.
Nov. 21 vs. Cincinnati Bengals 1:05 p.m. on CBS
If the Raiders’ secondary can handle Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, this is another winnable game.
Dec. 26 vs. Denver Broncos 1:25 p.m. on CBS
The one break in a rough end to the schedule. If Rodgers isn’t playing in Denver by then, of course.