The 2020 NFL season is set to begin on September 10 amid recent boycotts of other major American sports and despite many of the league’s key players opting out of the season due to fears over Coronavirus.
The Raiders may not be an odds-on favourite to win the AFC West or even to make the playoffs, but after adding no. 12 draft pick and Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs III to a strong offensive line that is led by veteran quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders’ inaugural season in Las Vegas is sure to be interesting.
How Covid-19 Will Affect the Raiders Season
It’s not how any Raiders fan would have wanted their first NFL season to begin, but in August Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis announced that the newly built, $1.97 billion, Allegiant Stadium would not have any Raiders fans in attendance for the 2020 season.
For a city that has been anticipating this move for over 3 years, the lack of supporters will undoubtedly quash the fanfare that one would otherwise expect from Sin City.
Lack of fans isn’t the only thing Coach Jon Gruden will have to come to terms with this season though.
Three Raiders players (Ukeme Eligwe, D.J. Killings and Jeremiah Valoaga) have decided to voluntarily opt-out of the 2020 NFL season due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. While none were key players for the Raiders last year, it’s unclear whether more Raiders players will decide to join their teammates after the season gets underway.
Sunday’s Season Opener: Panthers vs. Raiders
The Raiders season begins on Sunday at 10 am in Charlotte against the Panthers.
Teddy Bridgewater, the former New Orleans back-up is set to lead the Panthers at quarterback and he’ll be surrounded by a solid offensive line including running back Christian McCaffrey and key receiver D.J. Moore.
However, after finishing the 2019 season at the bottom of the NFC South (5-11) and using every single one of their 2019 draft picks on defensive players, the Panthers will likely find it hard to stop the young, talented Raiders offence.
Newly drafted wideouts Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III are reportedly killing it in the Raiders’ pre-season training camp, and with a talented 2019 rookie group that includes, Josh Jacobs, Foster Moreau and Hunter Renfrow, the Panthers will likely struggle against The Silver and Black.
If you compare the best betting sites on My Betting Sites you’ll find that the Raiders are slight favourites to win with the Points Spread ranging from +/- 1 to +/- 3.
The Raiders Outlook for the Rest of the NFL Season
The true test for Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock’s men will not be Sunday morning’s game but whether the Raiders can go the distance.
Nobody is expecting the Raider’s to win the AFC West, especially given the recent success of Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs, however, there is still plenty for Raiders fans to be excited about.
Aside from the offensive players already mentioned, the Raiders have a talented group of second-year defenders including DE Clelin Ferrell, DE Maxx Crosby, CB Trayvon Mullen and S Johnathan Abram and a couple of impressive rookie cornerbacks in Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson that will be looking to improve on a disappointing 2019 season (7-9).
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic and the boycotts of various American sports, what the Raiders’ inaugural season in Las Vegas has in store for fans is something nobody that quite knows for sure but hopes for making the playoffs are high as the Raider’s look to impress in their first season in the desert.