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Raiders 2023: Winning close games is key for Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Raiders started the season off the right way. Is it a sign of things to come?

Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Jimmy Garoppolo
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The theme of the Las Vegas Raiders’ coaches and players after their 17-16 Week 1 victory at division rival Denver Broncos on Sunday was that this year is different for the team.

Unlike, last year, the first under head coach Josh McDaniels, the Raiders were able to finish. The 2022 season, of course, was one of extreme frustration for the Raiders as they finished a bitterly disappointing 6-11. The Raiders were famous for blowing leads and losing close games a season ago.

Las Vegas was 4-9 in one-score games last season. In 2021, when the Raiders went 10-7, they were 7-2 in one-score games in the regular season and lost a one-score game in their playoff game.

Sunday, Las Vegas started the 2023 season the right way after it took the lead in the fourth quarter and then got off the field quickly on defense and ran out the clock on offense to secure the one-point win.

After the game, McDaniels preached to his team that this year is different.

The NFL is a league of close games. In Week 1, half of the 16 games were decided by one-score. The three other teams in the AFC West lost brutally close games. Kansas City and Denver both lost by one point and the Chargers lost by two points.

The margin of wins and losses is razor thin. Performance in close games will determine who goes to the playoffs and who doesn’t.

Yes, it’s just one week, but the Raiders will be in business if they can continue this trend.