Lost in the excitement that the Las Vegas Raiders will open the season at Allegiant Stadium on Monday Night Football is the fact that their opponent is not a team you want to face in Week 1 based on recent history.
The Ravens have been absolutely dominant in Week 1 since 2017. How dominant as you ask? They have outscored their past four opening-week opponents by a combined score of 164-19.
Yes, 164-19. That is startling.
Over the past four years, the Ravens have scored 164 points in Week 1. They've allowed only 19.— Kyle P Barber (@BB_KylePBarber) May 15, 2021
The Ravens are averaging 41 ppg in Week 1 and allowing only 4.75.
The Raiders better have a plan.
Here are the gory details:
- The Ravens beat the host Cincinnati Bengals 20-0 in 2017
- The Ravens beat the visiting Buffalo Bills 47-3 in 2018
- The Ravens beat the hot Miami Dolphins 59-10 in 2019
- The Ravens beat the visiting Cleveland Browns 38-6 in 2020
And now the Ravens play the Raiders in Week 1 of 2021 ...
One could counter by saying the Week 1 opponents who Baltimore has faces recently have not been very good teams. The Bengals went 7-9 in 2017, the Bills went 6-10 in 2018, and the Dolphins went 6-10 in 2019. The Browns, however, went 11-5 in 2020, rebounding nicely from the Week 1 debacle.
Regardless of whether the opponents were good, average or bad, winning that decisively is impressive.
This trend is a tribute to Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh and his staff. Clearly they have gotten their team prepared heading into the season as often teams are sluggish to start the season. That hasn’t been the case in Baltimore.
Does this mean the Raiders, who are underdogs in Week 1, have no chance against the Ravens? No, of course not. But it does mean that Jon Gruden and his team must realize that the Ravens will be coming to town well prepared.