The Raiders’ second era in Oakland ended with an appropriate thud Sunday as they missed the playoffs for the 16th time in the past 17 seasons. But Sunday also provided the Raiders with some answers about their first season in Las Vegas next year.
Their 2020 schedule and first-round draft positions were both set a little after the Raiders’ season-ending 16-15 loss in Denver.
The Raiders’ new home, the $1.84 billion Allegiant Stadium that’s scheduled to be open on time in late August, could be featured in the first Sunday Night Football game next season. Sources told The Las Vegas Review-Journal the Raiders are under serious consideration to play their first regular-season game in Vegas on Sunday night or even Thursday night.
Perhaps the most attractive matchup would be the Raiders hosting the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night in Week 1. The NFL will release dates and times for its 2020 season in the second week of April.
In less than four months, the Raiders will host the NFL’s 85th annual draft in Paradise, Nev. and they’ll be busy on April 23 with two first-round draft picks — one will come at No. 12 and the other at No. 19, with the 19th pick coming from the Bears in the Khalil Mack trade.
Will Jon Gruden use one of their first two picks to bring in another quarterback to compete with Derek Carr? Or will they prioritize a true No. 1 receiver and select either Henry Ruggs III of Alabama, Tee Higgins of Clemson or Laviska Shenault Jr. of Colorado? Maybe a top-flight cornerback such as Stanford’s Paulson Adebo or LSU’s Kristian Fulton would be targeted?
When the Raiders settle on their draft choices and their roster for next season, here are the teams they’ll be facing when they move to Las Vegas:
2020 HOME GAMES: Saints, Bills, Dolphins, Buccaneers, Colts, Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers.
2020 ROAD GAMES: Patriots, Jets, Browns, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers.