Raiders' Win-Loss Predictions for 2022 NFL Season

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2022

Raiders' Win-Loss Predictions for 2022 NFL Season

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 14: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders throws during warmups before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium on August 14, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated Vikings the 26-20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Raiders QB Derek Carr (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    The Las Vegas Raiders were one of the headline-grabbing teams in the NFL this offseason. They hired a new head coach in Josh McDaniels, a new general manager in Dave Ziggler and made two of the biggest acquisitions of the spring.

    Las Vegas signed star pass-rusher Chandler Jones and traded for All-Pro receiver Davante Adams.

    The Raiders have generated considerable buzz because they were already a playoff team in 2021. Las Vegas navigated a difficult campaign—one that included Jon Gruden's resignation midseason—and still finished 10-7. The team then lost to the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in a wild-card contest that came down to the final seconds.

    On paper, Las Vegas is a better team than it was a year ago. Will its record reflect that? That's what we're here to examine. Let's dive into what lies ahead for the Raiders and make some predictions.

Raiders' 2022 Schedule

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 09: Running back Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders carries the ball on a touchdown run against the Los Angles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
    Josh Jacobs and the Raiders will open the 2022 season against a familiar foe in the Chargers. (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

    Week 1: at Los Angeles Chargers

    Week 2: Arizona Cardinals

    Week 3: at Tennessee Titans

    Week 4: Denver Broncos

    Week 5: at Kansas City Chiefs

    Week 6: Bye

    Week 7: Houston Texans

    Week 8: at New Orleans Saints

    Week 9: at Jacksonville Jaguars

    Week 10: Indianapolis Colts

    Week 11: at Denver Broncos

    Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks

    Week 13: Los Angeles Chargers

    Week 14: at Los Angeles Rams

    Week 15: New England Patriots

    Week 16: at Pittsburgh Steelers

    Week 17: San Francisco 49ers

    Week 18: Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis and Expectations

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 20: Head Coach Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders on the sidelines during the first half of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Will Josh McDaniels find early success as the new Raiders head coach? (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    We've discussed some of the additions Las Vegas made in the offseason. While Raiders fans should be excited about the addition of Jones—and especially about college teammates Adams and Derek Carr reuniting—it's worth noting that the rest of the AFC West added pieces too.

    The Kansas City Chiefs revamped their receiving corps by trading Tyreek Hill and adding the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and rookie Skyy Moore. The Los Angeles Chargers added defensive stalwarts Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson, while the Denver Broncos traded for quarterback Russell Wilson.

    One could argue Las Vegas merely did enough to keep up with the rest of the division. That was the take of Bleacher Report's panel of NFL experts when tasked with picking division winners in July.

    The Chargers were selected over the Chiefs, three votes to two.

    "The Chargers have continuity and roster balance, giving them a slight edge in the AFC West," Maurice Moton noted.

    Oddsmakers also have Las Vegas as an underdog in the division. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Raiders are the longest shot in the West at +650 (bet $100 to win $650).

    The Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos are +175, +220 and +260, respectively.

    Las Vegas is also a dark horse to win the conference, at 20-1. As we saw last year with Cincinnati, though, a team can get hot in the postseason and make a run. For the Raiders, getting to the playoffs is the immediate goal.

    However, Las Vegas isn't perceived as a surefire playoff team. The over/under for regular-season wins stands at only 8.5. That's not too much of a surprise, given the level of competition in the division.

    You can bet the Raiders are hoping for more than an 8-9 or 9-8 finish, though.

Predictions

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 24:  Offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood #70 of the Las Vegas Raiders blocks defensive tackle Fletcher Cox #91 of the Philadelphia Eagles in front of quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Raiders during their game at Allegiant Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Eagles 33-22.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Will Alex Leatherwood and the Raiders offensive line protect Derek Carr in 2022? (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    There are a couple of big obstacles in Las Vegas' path to the postseason this year. The first is a division loaded with talent. The second is an offensive line that still carries questions coming out of the offseason.

    Last year's line allowed 40 sacks and paved the way for the league's 28th-ranked rushing attack. It will have to be better in 2022 for the Raiders to make a serious run. Moving 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood from tackle to guard permanently could help that cause.

    "It's not that Leatherwood is incapable—he's big, strong and athletic—but his technique at right tackle has been poor and his confidence looks gone," Tashan Reed of The Athletic wrote.

    Heading into the season, games that can be pegged as "easy" wins are few and far between. The Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars might qualify, but that's about it. In all, the Raiders are tied for the league's seventh-hardest schedule in terms of opposing 2021 winning percentage (.528).

    Las Vegas will have eight games against 2021 playoff teams and two each against the Chargers and Broncos, who have improved on paper. The Indianapolis Colts may be a contender with Matt Ryan under center, and the New Orleans Saints could be in the postseason mix with their revitalized receiving corps.

    The prediction here is Las Vegas splits its six divisional games and beats the teams it is supposed to beat. If the Raiders can go .500 against its other eight opponents—the Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Saints and Colts—that would get them to 10 wins.

    A lot will hinge on Carr's protection, his rekindled chemistry with Adams and the guidance of McDaniels and the new coaching staff. Ten wins is far from unrealistic for the Raiders, though.

    Win-Loss Prediction: 10-7

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