After a disappointing 2022 season, the Raiders enter the 2023 season with an improved defense, new quarterback, and explosive offensive playmakers. There’s no doubt they’ll have one of the better offenses in the NFL with Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Michael Mayer, Austin Hooper, Jakobi Meyers, and Hunter Renfrow. The biggest question will come with how the defense can accelerate and play with new talent. Their 2023 schedule isn’t overly tough and, I break each game down.
Week 1: at Denver Broncos: Win (1-0)
The Denver Broncos have never beat the Las Vegas Raiders and I don’t see that changing, yet. The Broncos improved their roster and Sean Payton is MILES above Nathaniel Hackett, but there’s still questions concerning the offense. I like the way the Raiders’ matchup vs. the Denver defense, and they’ll be able to run the ball well.
Week 2: at Buffalo Bills: Loss (1-1)
The Bills offense is elite, and it’s going to probably run miles around the Raiders’ young defense. Maxx Crosby should have a good game, yet it won’t be enough to overcome Josh Allen. Buffalo’s defense matches up well against the Raiders, but coaching remains a question, it’s not likely, but they could pull this one out.
Week 3: vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Win (2-1)
The Raiders home opener is a week three Monday Night Football showdown. The Raiders lost last year 13-10 and likely win if the quarterback play was better, and this year, maybe it will be. Both teams improved and had steadily good offseasons. It will be an exciting matchup which could go both ways, Nate Hobbs against George Pickens will be the difference maker.
Week 4: at Los Angeles Chargers: Loss (2-2)
The Chargers are a good team, the Raiders are average, and that’s that. Kellen Moore is going to run an amazing offense in Los Angeles and really utilize Quentin Johnston, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams well. Even if Austin Ekeler doesn’t play, I really like the Chargers team, on paper. Overall, it will be a fun matchup, both offenses will score at will, but I feel the Chargers defense will make one stop at the end of the game.
Week 5: vs Green Bay Packers: Win (3-2)
The Raiders should be able to score extremely well vs. Joe Barry’s defense. Adams will return to face the Packers and probably imposes his will against them. The Raiders should be able to get pressure on Jordan Love, but if they can’t then things are going to get interesting. Like the last four games, this just comes down to if the Raiders can get a stop.
Week 6: vs New England Patriots: Win (4-2)
The Raiders double their losses and take another game vs the Patriots, though I doubt it has an equally exciting ending as last time. Josh McDaniels showed he’s able to score vs the Patriots, and Graham is able to get a stop. It will be a fun matchup but I expect Davante Adams, Meyers, and Renfrow to really step up vs a weaker secondary.
Week 7: at Chicago Bears: Win (5-2)
This is a game the Raiders should win, though there’s a severe chance they end up losing, because well it’s the Raiders, and they like to lose winnable games. The Bears’ offense has firepower, but it’s a game the Raiders defense should actually dominate. On offense, I don’t see them being able to stop the Raiders quad of weapons, it will be a fantastic game for Josh Jacobs as well.
Week 8: at Detroit Lions: Loss (5-3)
This game is literally going to be about kneecaps, it’s Dan Campbell vs the Raiders, I mean it’s just going to be fun to watch (and there’s the whole turf thing). The Lions secondary is going to give the Raiders a fit, and this has the ability to be Jimmy Garoppolo’s worst game this season. I like the Lions matchup vs the Raiders, and they’ll be able to keep Goff clean. It could be an exciting matchup that goes either way.
Week 9: vs New York Giants: Win (6-3)
Another toss up game, sensing a trend yet? The Giants season relies on one person and one person only, Daniel Jones. If he keeps up his play from last year they can go far, if not, it’s going to be a new quarterback for the Big Blue next year. The Giants defense has the ability to get stops, but it will rely on some key secondary players stepping up. The same goes for the Raiders, if they are able to get stops, then they’ll win.
Week 10: vs New York Jets: Loss (6-4)
Aaron Rodgers vs the Raiders secondary, yeah, that’s going to be a fantastic night for Rodgers fantasy owners. The Jets’ offense is explosive and going to be a fun team to watch, their defense is also fantastic. Sauce Gardner vs Adams will be one of the best matchups of all year among every defensive back and wide receiver. Robert Saleh is going to call a good game vs a quarterback he knows, and it might not be a great night for the Raiders on Sunday Night Football.
Week 11: at Miami Dolphins: Loss (6-5)
The good news, this game is in November, so the heat will be semi bearable. The bad news, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins’ offense is quick, explosive, and run by a genius. When it comes to defense, the Dolphins have an elite secondary and Xavien Howard will get a good matchup vs Davante Adams. The Raiders probably drop their second game by 10+ points.
Week 12: vs Kansas City Chiefs: Loss (6-6)
Man, is this a tough draw for the Raiders, three straight games vs likely playoff teams before the bye week. The Chiefs run circles around the Raiders, literally, and it’s not going to change this season. If the Raiders can get pressure on Mahomes, there’s a chance this game could turn into a surprise before the bye week, but it’s going to take perfection. For now, the Raiders hit the bye week at .500, which is exactly the team they are.
Week 13: Bye
Week 14: vs Minnesota Vikings: Win (7-6)
This should be a great rebound game for the Raiders, especially with their offense likely facing a defense that’s probably going to be among the bottom eight at this point. The Vikings’ offense could have a good day and Justin Jefferson should do fantastic, which puts pressure on Nate Hobbs. I really like the Raiders pass rush vs the Vikings line and Kirk Cousins, especially for Maxx Crosby. It’s only fitting if this game ends on a Daniel Carlson walk off kick.
Week 15: vs Los Angeles Chargers: Loss (7-7)
Back to .500, which I guess is an improvement from last year. The Chargers’ offense at this point will be clicking and, unless a disaster strikes, the defense will be playing well too. Josh Jacobs is the difference maker for this game, if he does great, then they could come away with a win in a key game, if not, then it’s likely a loss. This is going to be a shootout, and I trust Justin Herbert more.
Week 16: at Kansas City Chiefs: Loss (7-8)
Do I really need to explain this one? Christmas day, in Kansas City and it’s probably going to be snowing. Patrick Mahomes is going to pull some Christmas magic.
Week 17: at Indianapolis Colts: Win (8-8)
The Colts’ offense will be humming, their defense I don’t trust. Late in the season at eight wins, I really like the matchup for Vegas. There’s potential for a playoff push still, but it’s likely out of the question. The Raiders front four will be pushing the pocket almost every snap, which is huge, their secondary matches up well too. On offense, it’s going to be an explosive game.
Week 18: vs Denver Broncos: Win (9-8)
For the fourth straight year, the Raiders sweep the Broncos. I don’t like Russell Wilson late in the year, and the Raiders will be playing for their jobs on defense. Like week one, the offense matches up well and Adams could end the year with over 120 yards, again.
The Raiders could end up with five wins or somehow 11 this year, they are just that confusing of a team. Assuming some defensive players standout, which I expect with the coaching staff, I think the defense finishes around the 17-19 mark, which would be sensational given the past. On offense, as I stated numerous times, it’s going to be near impossible to stop as long as Jimmy Garoppolo is playing at an average level and stays healthy. Josh Jacobs is going to be the bloodline of the offense, which bodes well, and their special teams probably wins them at least two games this year as they have a case for the best one in the league. The schedule is set up well, with a streak of winnable games and then streaks of likely losses. They have some extremely good games that are going to be fun to watch, and some that will be ugly.
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