Raiders 2022 Season Outlook

A talented team with playmakers on both sides of the football, the Las Vegas Raiders are looking to build off of a 10-win season even in the midst of the toughest division in football.

The Las Vegas Raiders had a very successful year defeating the Los Angeles Chargers in the season finale before falling to the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round. In fact, the Raiders could have won that game as they only lost by a touchdown and had many opportunities to tie it up and even win. Nonetheless, Raiders fans can’t reminisce on the past and must look forward to this season.

The big splash this offseason for the Raiders was acquiring the best receiver in football, Davante Adams, from the Packers which sent shockwaves around the league. The trade not only brings more firepower to an already 10-win team but also reunites Adams with his college quarterback, Derek Carr, and the two have undeniable chemistry (as seen in college at Fresno State and at Raiders training camp).

People who are critical of Adams regressing a lot with Carr as quarterback vs. Rodgers don’t understand how underrated Carr has become. He is no Aaron Rodgers we all know that, but he did just throw for 4,804 passing yards (5th in NFL) and 23 TD’s while finishing with the 12th overall QBR of 52.4 in the NFL with arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. In fact, PFF(Pro Football Focus) ranks the Raiders projected starting offensive line of Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Andre James, Dylan Parham, and Alex Leatherwood as the 4th worst line in football.

Carr also accomplished all of those feats with Darren Waller being double covered and game planned very well against all season long and Hunter Renfrow being his only consistent receiver. Waller only had 665 receiving yards, 2 TD’s, and 55 receptions last season and was a “no-show” production-wise in many games.

A lot of that had to do with defenses game-planning him very well, which also allowed Hunter Renfrow to have such a big year. In fact, Renfrow was 9th in total receptions (103), 21st in total receiving yards 1,038, and was also 9th in TD’s (with 9). Renfrow will not replicate that production with Adams but he should be very productive again when the Raiders need it most.

Nonetheless, for the Raiders to continue to build off of their 10-win season, they need close to the production of 2020 NFL season Waller where he pulled in 107 receptions for 1,196 receiving yards and 9 TD’s. The talent is still there and Davante Adams coming in will give Waller the space to make that leap back to his usual production possible. Josh Jacobs, who ranked 15th in rushing yards (872) and 9th in TD’s (9) needs to be more consistent for the Raiders offense to fully reach its potential.

Last year Jacobs only had two 100+ yard rushing games and both of them came at the end of the season. Jacobs also only had three other games all season long where he had over 63 rush yards as he struggled with efficiency despite being the Raiders’ lead back. In a lot of games, Jacobs was completely shut down by opposing defenses (only 16 rush yards against the Chiefs most notably). Either way, Jacobs still has the raw talent to get back to the production in 2019 and 2020 where he had 1,065+ rushing yards in both seasons.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Raiders ranked 11th in total yards per game, 6th in passing yards per game, but also 28th in rush yards per game. Their passing attack carried them and the Raiders need a big year from Josh Jacobs to get those numbers up. The Raiders will have an even more lethal passing attack with Adams on the roster so I’m expecting this offense to rank around 7th in overall yards per game. However, this team’s offensive ceiling will rely on the production and blocking of the 29th-ranked offensive line and whether or not they can prove people wrong and outperform that ranking.

On the defensive side of the football, the Raiders ranked 14th in total yards given up per game (337.2) but were also 26th in points given up per game. The Raiders had a serious problem stopping not only the run (ranked 19th in the NFL in rush yards given up per game) but also keeping points off of the board. New head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will need to improve the team’s red-zone defense to keep pressure off of Derek Carr and the offense. Maxx Crosby was one of the best defensive ends in football last year at only 24 years of age.

He will undoubtedly improve and build off of his pro bowl season. Safety Tre’von Moehrig will need to improve and live up to his 2nd round pick billing as the secondary needs more difference makers. It’s also important to note that the Raiders not only play in the hardest division in football (the AFC West) but also have one of the hardest schedules in all of football as well (playing the 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, and Patriots).

Furthermore, the defense will yet again be average, unable to make a big difference in shutting down the pass and the run. If they can somehow stop opposing offenses from punishing them in the Red Zone this team could win 11 or 12 games. I think it’ll be more of the same from last season and they’ll finish 3rd or 4th in a tough AFC West. Below are my game-by-game predictions for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Week 2:

Arizona Cardinals @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders will have a tough time winning this game as their run defense is awful and both Kyler Murray and James Conner have the legs to carry this offense. I expect the Cardinals’ defense to play better than expected in this game (as the Cardinals always start the season hot and have a mediocre second half).

Derek Carr will throw a costly interception and even when Davante Adams pulls in a late touchdown to put the Raiders within 7, the Cardinals will drive the ball downfield for a field goal and win by 10 points.

Prediction: Cardinals defeat Raiders 31-21

Week 3:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

Another tough game for the Raiders, the Titans have a good defense and an elite run game with Derrick Henry. However, even if they get torched by Henry, they’ll put a lot of pressure on Ryan Tannehill who I fully expect to turn the ball over at least twice in this game.

Tannehill is going to struggle without A.J. Brown this year and it remains to be seen if Robert Woods will be fully healthy by this point in the season. The Raiders’ pass defense wins them this game and Derek Carr does surprisingly well against the Titans’ defense. The Raiders win by 10.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Titans 27-17

Week 4:

Denver Broncos @ Las Vegas Raiders

Both teams will be doing whatever it takes to get this divisional win early on and have an advantage in the AFC West but I think that the Raiders will be motivated to pick up their first home win of the season. At this point, they are 1-2 and do not want to enter Kansas City 1-3 against Patrick Mahomes so I expect Derek Carr to lock in and push through adversity to defeat a dominant defense in the Broncos.

I also expect the Raiders’ run defense to put it together in this game and shut down both Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon to under 100 yards combined. Russell Wilson will also throw an interception and the Raiders will cruise to a two-touchdown win against a very good Broncos team.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Broncos 35-21

Week 5:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Raiders will be 2-2 going into this game and will have a tough time beating the Chiefs in Kansas City. Their defense is good but not good enough to contain Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. The Chiefs will be motivated to win against an arch rival at home and even though Carr will torch the Chiefs’ horrible defense, Patrick Mahomes will be at his best and pace the Chiefs to a shootout victory.

Prediction: Chiefs defeat Raiders 45-38

Week 6:

Bye week for the Raiders. They enter their rest week with a 2-3 record and are not too happy about it. However, it’s early on in the season, and plenty of divisional games left to gain ground on the Chargers and Chiefs.

Week 7:

Houston Texans @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders will be rested and motivated to win this game early. I expect Carr to throw 3 first-half touchdowns and for Josh Jacobs to run over 100 yards and pace the offense in the second half. The Raiders defense will also be able to shut down Davis Mills pretty easily. Raiders win big to improve to 3-3.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Texans 35-10

Week 8:

Las Vegas Raiders @ New Orleans Saints

The Saints have a very good football team and their defense remains one of the best in the NFL, especially against the pass now with Tyrann Mathieu at safety. If Alvin Kamara is suspended he should be back by this game and that would mean the Saints have a big advantage in this one (and also being at home).

I just have a gut feeling the Raiders will get an unexpected win here in New Orleans. Derek Carr will step up to the plate and throw for 300+ yards and 2 touchdowns against a very good defense. Daniel Carlson will also make 3 field goals to win the game for the Raiders.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Saints 24-21

Week 9:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Raiders will enter this game with a 4-3 record and on a two-game win streak. The Jaguars are going to be better this season and are at home in this one. I see this as a trap game for the Raiders and they’ll be down by 1-2 touchdowns at halftime.

However, even after Travis Etienne and Trevor Lawrence torch the defense, Derek Carr and Davante Adams will connect for 2 TD’s and Josh Jacobs will run for another one to give the Raiders the lead late. I then think their defense will hold onto this victory and the Raiders will win by 6.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Jaguars 30-24

Week 10:

Indianapolis Colts @ Las Vegas Raiders

Even though many evaluators predict the Colts to be good this year, I think Matt Ryan will struggle in this game and despite Jonathan Taylor being his usual self for the Colts, Josh Jacobs will catch 2 TD’s and Darren Waller will have one of his best games all year. The Raiders will win this one by a touchdown.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Colts

Week 11:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Denver Broncos

The Raiders enter this game with a 6-3 record and can put the Broncos’ division hopes to rest with a victory in Denver. But this is also going to be a much tougher matchup considering the Broncos lost the first one to Vegas and will have more of a chip on their shoulder in this one. Denver’s defense will terrorize Derek Carr in this one as I expect Carr to have one of his worst games all season long.

After struggling in the first matchup, Javonte Williams will go off for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns and Russell Wilson will connect with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy for a touchdown a piece. The Broncos win this game by 17 points.

Prediction: Broncos defeat Raiders 34-17

Week 12:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks will likely be the worst team in the NFL next season. However, Century Link will be very loud and they’ll want a victory. Derek Carr will struggle a bit in the first half as Josh Jacobs will have a multitude of touches. In the second half, Carr will throw 3 touchdowns and the Raiders defense will terrorize Drew Lock or Geno Smith. I’m expecting a 21-point win for the Raiders.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Seahawks 35-14

Week 13:

Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders will be the ones mad after a week 1 loss and they’ll be in the midst of a playoff race entering this matchup with a 7-4 record. I expect Derrek Carr and Davante Adams to make adjustments in this game and torch the Chargers’ defense for 2 combined touchdowns.

Josh Jacobs will also have a big game scoring 1 TD and Darren Waller will pull in a touchdown as well. Herbert and the Chargers will keep it close but not close enough as the Raiders will win by a touchdown and split the season series.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Chargers 31-24

Week 14:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams

Entering the matchup with an 8-4 record, the Raiders will still be exhausted from their pivotal win against the Chargers the previous week. The Rams have one of the most talented teams in the NFL and despite not having a good run game, Matthew Stafford will connect with Cooper Kupp for 2 TD’s, and the Rams’ defense will sack Derek Carr at least 4 times.

The Raiders’ offensive line won’t be able to provide Derek Carr with enough protection against Aaron Donald and company while Jalen Ramsey will do just enough to keep Davante Adams in check. The Rams win by 10 points.

Prediction: Rams defeat Raiders 27-17

Week 15:

New England Patriots @ Las Vegas Raiders

Josh McDaniels vs. his former boss Bill Belicheck is going to be a fun matchup. Belicheck rarely loses to his former assistants though which is something to keep in mind. However, the Patriots simply aren’t as good of a football team as the Las Vegas Raiders and certainly do not have difference makers like Davante Adams and Darren Waller on their roster.

The Patriots will lose a step on Adams multiple times (with JC Jackson and Stephon Gilmore now gone) and Adams will go for over 120 yards against a good defense. I am expecting Mac Jones to throw 2 interceptions in this game and for the Patriots’ run game to be stagnant as well. The Raiders will win this game by 14 points.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Patriots 28-14

Week 16:

Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

This one will be an intense matchup as both teams will likely be vying for a playoff spot. Najee Harris is going to run all over the Raiders but Mitch Trubitsky will struggle to hit Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool downfield.

T.J. Watt will easily have 2 sacks maybe even 3 in this game against an atrocious offensive line but Derek Carr will get back up and find Hunter Renfrow for 2 touchdowns and Darren Waller for one as well. I expect the Steelers to stay in this one until the 4th quarter but the Raiders will come out on top even on the road against a good team.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Steelers 24-20

Week 17:

San Francisco 49ers @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders enter this game in playoff position with a 10-6 record and can clinch a playoff spot (likely) with a victory against the 49ers. However, that won’t happen as the 49ers have one of the best run games in all of football and a stifling defensive line with Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and Drake Jackson who will put pressure on Derek Carr the whole game.

Carr will be able to drive the Raiders downfield numerous times but will struggle in the Red Zone, allowing the 49ers to run the clock out in the second half. Trey Lance will run for 70 yards and throw for 200 yards and the 49ers will win this game by 10 points.

Prediction: 49ers defeat Raiders 30-20

Week 18:

Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders

What a divisional matchup to end the year as both teams will be vying for a playoff spot in this one. The Raiders need to win this game by more than 7 points to have a shot at the division title and clinch a spot in the playoffs, but even if they just win they should be in with 11 wins. I think that the Raiders will be motivated to win their home finale against their arch-rival and they’ll get it done.

Derek Carr will throw for 4 touchdowns, and even though Patrick Mahomes will throw for 3+ touchdowns as well, the Raiders will win the shootout because they’ll have the ball last. Daniel Carlson kicks home the game-winning field goal as time expires and the Raiders survive a close one and make the playoffs with an 11-7 record.

Prediction: Raiders defeat Chiefs 38-35

The Las Vegas Raiders will make a wild card game with an 11-7 record. The Chargers will win the division with a 12-6 record, but the Raiders will win one more game than they did last season and have a shot at redemption in the playoffs. Overall, the Raiders will be a playoff team and have a shot at competing in the playoffs as it’ll be a fun season for Raiders nation.

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