The Las Vegas Raiders will host the Baltimore Ravens in the first Monday Night Football game of the NFL 2021 season on September 13. The game will also mark the first regular-season match at full capacity at the Allegiant Stadium.
The Raiders will look to start their 2021 NFL campaign on the right foot, and improve on their 8-8 record from last season as they look to make a name for themselves in the AFC West. Meanwhile, the Ravens will look to get back to the playoffs in 2021, but they'll be mindful of a preseason ravaged by injuries.
Monday Night Football Premiere - Ravens vs Raiders Preview
The Raiders fan base will have the Allegiant Stadium loud, as they'll attend a home game in Las Vegas for the first time. Will the Ravens be able to overcome injuries and a hostile home-field advantage, and bag their first win of the season?
Ravens' injury-plagued offense could be a concern
The Baltimore Ravens spent the offseason trying to give their offense a bit of a balance between the running and passing games.
The Ravens drafted wide receiver Rashod Bateman to help with their passing game, which was ranked last in the NFL in 2020. Bateman is currently rehabilitating from an injury he suffered in the preseason.
In the last two weeks, the Ravens lost running backs JK Dobbins to a torn ACL, Justice Hill to a torn Achilles and Gus Edwards to a torn ACL; all of them have been ruled out for the season. The Ravens then signed veteran running backs Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray, initially to their practice squad.
Whether the three of them will be ready to make an impact on the active roster by Week 1 remains a long shot. The Ravens will most likely lean on the mobility of quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Raiders defense added a former Ravens player
The Las Vegas Raiders didn't make any headline-making additions this offseason, but they did sign former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. He should give the Raiders defense a pop, and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Ngakoue had eight sacks last season and 45.5 career sacks.
Quarterback Derek Carr will need to get the crowd behind him and score early and frequently in the first half. If at any point the Ravens get ahead, there will be little that the Raiders may be able to do about it. The Ravens, overall, are a better team than the Raiders, even with the injuries they are grappling with.