Thu, 19 May 2022

Top storylines to follow on the Raiders' 2022 schedule

Las Vegas Raiders
13 May 2022, 22:05 GMT+10

Levi Edwards

The Las Vegas Raiders' 2022 schedule has officially been released - and boy, isn't it interesting.

The Silver and Black's season will consist of four primetime games, a Hall of Fame preseason game to start and rematches against five teams from last season. The Raiders' luck of the draw has them playing against an AFC West foe in the season opener with many more exciting games to follow.

The number of storylines to follow this season will be significant. Here are a few big ones to take note of with the regular season on the horizon.

No love lost

The Raiders' regular season picks right back up where it left off.

The memory of beating the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2021 regular season finale to make the playoffs should still be fresh on Raiders fans' minds. It's obviously still fresh on the NFL's minds as well, as the Silver and Black will travel to Inglewood to square up against their AFC West rival to start the season.

This rematch will be a little different though; actually a lot different. The Chargers bolstered their defense, signing All-Pro cornerback J.C Jackson and trading for former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and former Raider Khalil Mack. The Raiders didn't do too shabby this offseason either, trading for All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams and signing elite edge rusher Chandler Jones.

Without a doubt, it should be a hell of a game.

Reunions

Chandler Jones won't have to wait too long to play his former team.

The Raiders will host the Arizona Cardinals for their home opener at Allegiant Stadium in Week 2. Jones racked up 71.5 sacks in six seasons with the Cardinals.

The Silver and Black drawing Arizona early in the schedule also likely means they won't have to deal with All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is currently suspended the first six games of the season.

Welcome to the league, rooks

The Raiders have a chance to see some fresh blood in the league this season.

The Silver and Black will get their shot at a few teams that had some high-profile draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. For starters, they'll face No. 1 pick Travon Walker twice this year - once during the Hall of Fame preseason game in Canton, Ohio, and again in Jacksonville for Week 9. The Georgia edge rusher had six sacks last season.

Derek Stingley Jr. will be another national champion they'll see this season - as the No. 3 pick to the Houston Texans will have the challenge of going up against Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow in Week 7 when the Texans travel to Allegiant Stadium. Stingley had 20 pass deflections and six interceptions in his three seasons at LSU.

Additionally, the Raiders may be facing two rising stars on the Pittsburgh Steelers, who invested first and second-round draft picks on quarterback Kenny Pickett from Pittsburgh and wide receiver George Pickens from Georgia. By the time the Silver and Black travel to Pittsburgh in Week 16, both rookies could possibly have developed into pivotal starters for the Steel Curtain.

Iron sharpens iron

Arguably the best receiver in the game and the best cornerback in the game have a primetime matchup in December.

Davante Adams will face Jalen Ramsey when the Raiders travel back to SoFi Stadium in Week 14 to play the defending champion Los Angeles Rams. Ramsey could perhaps be the biggest challenge Adams lines up against this season.

Nevertheless, Adams has historically done well lining up against the All-Pro defensive back. In the three games the two have played against each other, Adams has caught nine passes for 73 yards on Ramsey. Adams also has a 92.6 PFF receiving grade when Ramsey is in primary coverage on him.

50th anniversary of The Immaculate Deception?

The Ghost of Christmas Past arrives once again.

The Raiders have a Christmas Eve primetime matchup penciled in against historic rival the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game at Heinz Field will be the day after the 50-year anniversary of the infamous "Immaculate Reception" by Franco Harris in the 1972 AFC Divisional Round game. The mysterious play that has gone down in NFL history has a different name to Raider Nation.

"I call it the Immaculate Deception," said former Raiders safety George Atkinson, who played in the game 50 years ago.

The Raiders will look to replicate their victory in Pittsburgh last season, winning 26-17. Derek Carr threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns.

Teacher vs. Student

Kirby Smart vs. Nick Saban. Batista vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 21. Darth Vader vs. Obi-Wan.

Everyone loves a good storyline where the student has to face their master. Josh McDaniels gets his chance against longtime mentor Bill Belichick during Week 15 in Allegiant Stadium. The primetime Sunday Night Football matchup will pit McDaniels against his former team, where he served as offensive coordinator for 13 seasons and a total of six Super Bowls over two stints.

"Josh is a great coach," Belichick said back in January. "I'm sure that he feels like it's a great opportunity, that's why he took it. Other than against us, I hope he does well. I'm sure he will do well. He's an outstanding coach and some of the people that are with him, they're very good, too. But it all worked out well."

McDaniels has previously gotten a win over Belichick as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009. McDaniels and the Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-17 in overtime.

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