The Raiders finished second place in the AFC West in the 2020-21 season with a .500 record.
They were only led by 14-2 AFC champions, Kansas City Chiefs. As the 2021-22 season approaches, it’s time to evaluate the best adversaries that Las Vegas will be competing against for the division throne.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are just two seasons out of a Super Bowl victory and a league MVP award claimed by arguably the best quarterback in the game.
Considering not much has changed, It would almost seem foolish to predict Kansas City to not win the division yet again.
The Raiders haven’t even sniffed competition with the division rival since the 2016 season when both teams tied for first in the AFC West with 12-4 records.
Unfortunately for Las Vegas and the rest of the AFC, the Chiefs may have grown even stronger over this offseason.
Kansas City signed seven new members to its offensive line, including Orlando Brown Jr. in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens.
Patrick Mahomes is coming off a Super Bowl performance in which he was not well protected, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked three times. New additions to the offensive line could make for an even more versatile threat in the former MVP.
The Chiefs also added more talent to the other side of the line of scrimmage in defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who recorded 6.5 sacks last season.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Raiders’ next division threat also made big strides this offseason, placing them at No. 3 on CBS sportswriter Cody Benjamin’s top 10 NFL offseasons.
To start, the Chargers will be starting the season with a new head coach in former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Staley led one of the best defenses in the league during his one season with the Rams.
Los Angeles will also be surrounding its reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, quarterback Justin Herbert with another receiving weapon this year. The team added tight end, Jared Cook, from the New Orleans Saints back in March.
Cook is a two-time Pro Bowler and former Raider.
A strong defensive mind holding the reigns of the team and a new offensive assets to complement Herbert could have the Chargers being a serious challenger to the rest of the division.
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