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USATSI

The Las Vegas Raiders made the playoffs as a wild card with a 10-7 record in 2021, but they are expected to be much better in 2022. The addition of former Green Bay Packers All-Pro wideout Davante Adams was the headline of the offseason, but this team got much better on defense as well. 

Vegas added pieces at every level on defense. The Raiders signed defensive linemen Bilal Nichols and Vernon Butler, scored veteran pass-rusher Chandler Jones to pair opposite of Maxx Crosby, found a new inside linebacker in Jayon Brown and traded for cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. Throw in new head coach Josh McDaniels, and this team has a chance in the formidable AFC West.

Below, we will attempt to predict the Raiders schedule game-by-game. According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Raiders' Over/Under win total is 8.5 (Over+105, Under-125). Let's see where we land with this project.  

Week 1 at Los Angeles Chargers 

Opponent win total: O/U 10

The NFL schedule makers wasted no time in running back the bizarre Week 18 matchup that went down in Vegas. Brandon Staley is going to be very wary how he uses his timeouts in Week 1. This is almost a bit of a revenge game since L.A. missed the playoffs due to the Week 18 outcome, and Justin Herbert is going to come out firing. Like the Raiders, the Chargers made several big-time additions in the offseason. I'll take L.A. Week 1 with J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack showing out on defense. 

Spread: Chargers -4
Prediction:
 Raiders lose, 27-23
Projected record: 0-1

Week 2 vs. Arizona Cardinals 

Opponent win total: O/U 9

The Cardinals have had a weird offseason. Kyler Murray has been pushing privately and publicly for a new contract, and then his No. 1 wideout got suspended for the first six games of the regular season. That's going to hurt this offense, and Arizona could struggle out of the gate. Adams goes for over 100 yards receiving in the Raiders' first win of the season. 

Prediction: Raiders win, 30-20
Projected record: 1-1

Week 3 at Tennessee Titans 

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

This will be an early test for the Raiders' defensive front. Some may be down on the Titans after they dealt away A.J. Brown, but this team secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year without Derrick Henry and while playing with a record-setting amount of different players. Losing Brown surely will hurt, but this offense still runs through Henry. The Titans edge out the Raiders with a game-winning drive.

Prediction: Raiders lose, 21-17
Projected record: 1-2

Week 4 vs. Denver Broncos

Opponent win total: O/U 10

There's a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson as he prepares to play football in a different uniform. This Broncos roster has been ready to compete for a while, but they just haven't had a quarterback. If Wilson is still a top 10 passer, then this Broncos team could be a Super Bowl contender. But, who knows what he will look like in Denver. I say he will give the Raiders' secondary quite a test here in Week 4.  

Prediction: Raiders lose 27-24
Projected record: 1-3

Week 5 at Kansas City Chiefs 

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

The Raiders are much better than the 1-3 record they hold, and things don't get easier with a visit to Arrowhead. Still, remember how bad this Chiefs team looked at the beginning of last season? They started 2-3 and got absolutely manhandled by the Buffalo Bills on "Sunday Night Football." Maybe something like that could happen again in this edition of "Monday Night Football," as this offense looks to reboot without Tyreek Hill. Raiders score an upset victory. 

Prediction: Raiders win, 31-27
Projected record: 2-3

Week 7 vs. Houston Texans 

Opponent win total: O/U 4.5

I'm excited to watch Davis Mills and a few of Houston's rookies, but the Texans aren't expected to be one of the better teams in the NFL in 2022.  

Prediction: Raiders win, 23-16
Projected record: 3-3

Week 8 at New Orleans Saints 

Opponent win total: O/U 8

The Raiders may be an underrated team this season, but so are the Saints. Jameis Winston went 5-2 in his seven starts last year, and somewhat erased the interception-heavy narrative he created for himself in Tampa. He threw 14 touchdowns as opposed to three interceptions in 2021! The Saints also added Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry to the receiving corps, and then Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye on defense. This team is going to be better than people anticipate. Raiders lose in New Orleans. 

Prediction: Raiders lose 26-24
Projected record: 3-4

Week 9 at Jacksonville Jaguars 

Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

Doug Pederson is the man to get this franchise on the right track, but how quickly can he make that happen? I'm not bold enough to pick them over the Raiders at this point. 

Prediction: Raiders win, 24-20
Projected record: 4-4

Week 10 vs. Indianapolis Colts 

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

Jonathan Taylor again figures to be one of the top running backs in the league, and he's going to make life easier on Matt Ryan. The former Atlanta signal-caller is probably an upgrade over Carson Wentz, but how much of an upgrade? The Raiders beat the Colts late in the season last year thanks to a game-winning field goal and a big day from Zay Jones. Stephon Gilmore vs. Adams could be a fun matchup, but I'm leaning towards Vegas.

Prediction: Raiders win, 26-23
Projected record: 5-4

Week 11 at Denver Broncos 

Opponent win total: O/U 10

The Raiders have swept the Broncos in their season series in each of the last two years. That's going to change in a big way in 2022. Vegas fell to Denver early in the season, and it will lose again in Denver in Week 11. Javonte Williams has an impressive outing with 120 yards rushing. 

Prediction: Raiders lose, 29-24
Projected record: 5-5

Week 12 at Seattle Seahawks 

Opponent win total: O/U 6

The Seahawks are rebuilding, and not even their rowdy fans can carry them to victory late in the season. The Raiders' defense stands out in Week 12 with two interceptions, including a late pick six to seal the deal. 

Prediction: Raiders win, 24-16
Projected record: 6-5

Week 13 vs. Los Angeles Chargers 

Opponent win total: O/U 10

The Raiders get revenge on the Chargers after falling to L.A. in Week 1. The injury bug bites this team in the middle of the season, and they stumble a bit on the road here. Splitting the season series with the Chargers would be a win in my opinion. 

Prediction: Raiders win, 27-23
Projected record: 7-5

Week 14 at Los Angeles Rams 

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Getting the reigning Super Bowl champions late in the season on a short week as they are jockeying for playoff positioning in the tough NFC West is not ideal. The Rams are still one of the best teams in the NFL, and Allen Robinson catches two touchdowns in this victory.  

Prediction: Raiders lose, 31-26
Projected record: 7-6

Week 15 vs. New England Patriots 

Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

It's Bill Belichick vs. McDaniels. While the Patriots didn't have the most impressive offseason or most impressive draft class, this team is still going to be competitive because of second-year signal-caller Mac Jones. Remember when people were putting money on the Patriots as a Super Bowl sleeper during their nine-game win streak last year? That was a bit rich for me, but this team will still be solid. Patriots win on the road. 

Prediction: Raiders lose, 23-21
Projected record: 7-7

Week 16 at Pittsburgh Steelers 

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Remember that Week 2 win over Pittsburgh last year? That was a fun game. Kenny Pickett is playing quarterback for the Steelers at this point in the season, and while he's accurate, he can't create enough splash plays to get the Steelers into the win column. 

Prediction: Raiders win, 27-13
Projected record: 8-7

Week 17 vs. San Francisco 49ers 

Opponent win total: O/U 10

The 49ers hit a tough stretch in the middle of their campaign after starting 2-0 that has many doubting Trey Lance. However, just like last year, this team rebounds to finish strong, and that includes a win over Vegas in Week 17. 

Prediction: Raiders lose, 30-21
Projected record: 8-8

Week 18 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Due to the competitive AFC West, the Chiefs aren't resting their starters in the final week of the regular season like they did in 2020. After losing to the Raiders earlier in the season, the Chiefs get their revenge in the regular-season finale. 

Prediction: Raiders lose, 35-28
Projected final record: 8-9