The Las Vegas Raiders only want to play the playoffs for the second time since the 2002 NFL season, and that’s why they will.
Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders have flirted with the playoffs for the past two seasons, hitting a record 6-3 for two years in a row before falling apart in the second half of the season. Now, in the fourth year of his ten-year contract, Gruden hopes to lead his team to his first playoff spot since 2016. Las Vegas definitely has a solid chance to do so, and here’s why.
3 reasons why the Las Vegas Raiders will make it to the playoffs in 2021
The Las Vegas defense in 2020 was utterly gruesome as the group was one of the worst in the NFL, ranking 25th in total yards per game, 26th in number of passing yards per game, and 28th in total yards per game . Occupied place in the penalty courts per game. Fortunately, after these horrific results, Las Vegas decided to part with now former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
That layoff enabled the hiring of Defense Coordinator Gus Bradley, who forged a formidable defense for the Los Angeles Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and most importantly the Seattle Seahawk Legion of Boom.
Bradley should be able to step up on defense as his Cover 3 program should go well with some Las Vegas employees, particularly Cory Littleton, who was one of the league’s top linebackers before moving to Las Vegas. Bradley’s scheme is also apparently much simpler and more straightforward, which contrasts well with Günther’s, which was supposedly overcomplicated and contained more pieces than necessary.
Bradley should also get the most out of a player like Johnathan Abram, who is likely used as a boxing safety or pseudo linebacker who can stop the run, rush the passerby, and occasionally take cover.
The new faces of defense like Yannick Ngakoue and Trevon Moehrig were intended to add another level of depth and skill to the defense. A defensive improvement takes a lot of pressure off the offensive, which no longer has to score points on every single trip like in 2020.
Even if the Las Vegas defense is only a top 15 defense in the league, it’s still a huge improvement that should allow them to make the playoffs in 2021.