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Over the last two seasons, the Raiders have really struggled to finish the season strong. They’ve been in the playoff hunt each year, but have fallen apart in the month of December. Unfortunately, their December schedule isn’t much easier this year with games at Kansas City, at Cleveland and against the Broncos in Weeks 13-15.
In a recent article by Ben Brown of Pro Football Focus, he named this stretch of games as what will make or break the Raiders in 2021. Here are his thoughts on this slate of games for Las Vegas:
“Facing the top team in our Elo rankings twice, along with barely squeaking out second place in the division, gives the Raiders the sixth-most-difficult 2021 schedule. At Kansas City then at Cleveland could be the most difficult two-game stretch in the AFC, especially if Cleveland turns into a game on short rest.
Bettors aren’t backing the Raiders after dropping half a point down to a seven-game win total post-draft. If Denver upgrades its quarterback room, then the Raiders would easily end up with the most difficult schedule in all of football.”
Even if the Raiders are able to get through this stretch of games at 2-1 or even 1-2, the remaining part of their schedule doesn’t get much easier. They will play the Colts in Indianapolis in Week 17 and will finish the year against the Chargers.
Given just how difficult the late-season schedule is for the Raiders, it’s vital that they get off to a fast start. Otherwise, we could see another late-season collapse by Jon Gruden and his team.
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