The 2021 NFL schedule has been revealed and once again, the Las Vegas Raiders have one of the toughest. Just in terms of strength of schedule, the team has the eighth hardest road to the playoffs. However, that doesn’t take into account other factors like having to play on short weeks or taking a lot of long road trips.
The season starts off rough as the Raiders have a Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens and then head all the way to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers on a short week. The team is used to these tough scheduling breaks but it doesn’t make it any less annoying for them. General manager Mike Mayock took a bit of a shot at the NFL for how they put together the early-season schedule.
“Week 2 is tough because the league was good enough to send us to Pittsburgh on a short week across the country,” Mayock said sarcastically on The Rich Eisen Show.
Mayock then made it clear that the Raiders are ready for the challenge.
“We’ve got a challenging start and that’s what hit me first,” Mayock said. “We’re gonna embrace it and that’s two of the better franchises (Baltimore and Pittsburgh) back-to-back, one on a short week. That’s fine, let’s go.”
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No Excuses for the Raiders
Clearly, Mayock isn’t making too big of a deal about the Raiders’ schedule but he’s definitely annoyed. Also, Jon Gruden will more than likely take a couple of shots at the NFL when the season rolls around. However, Las Vegas has to stop making excuses.
Sure, the Raiders have a tough schedule but so do a lot of other teams. The Kansas City Chiefs probably aren’t complaining about whatever scheduling issues they have. Las Vegas actually played well against good teams last season. They were able to beat the Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints. The team also had late-game leads against the Chiefs in their second matchup and against Miami Dolphins. The Raiders have what it takes to beat some of the NFL’s best but haven’t been able to stay consistent.
Having Fans Back Could Greatly Help Raiders
The Raiders went 2-6 at home last season while going 6-2 on the road. The lack of fans at home games obviously hurt the team. They just opened up the brand new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and no fans have been able to attend a game yet.
As of right now, the plan is for stadiums to open up at full capacity when the 2021 season starts. That should help the Raiders quite a bit. The energy in that stadium will be massive due to all the excitement surrounding a team being in Las Vegas. Last year was a year full of excuses. The Raiders didn’t have fans, they got hit hard with COVID-19 protocols and dealt with a lot of injuries. This year, the team needs to leave the excuses at the door and focus on getting back to the playoffs.