Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season will conclude on Monday night with the season premiere of Monday Night Football. The Baltimore Ravens will face the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, and it will be the first time fans will see a Raiders game in the stadium that opened last year. The game will kick off at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. There will also be an alternate broadcast on ESPN with Peyton and Eli Manning providing commentary.
The Ravens are one of the top teams in the NFL, reaching the playoffs the last three seasons. A big part of their success is quarterback Lamar Jackson who was won the MVP award in 2019. Jackson is one of the top rushing quarterbacks in the NFL, recording 2,906 yards in just three seasons. And it's likely Jackson will have to carry the load in the run game after losing their top-two running backs — J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards — to season-ending injuries. This led to the Ravens signing veteran running backs Latavius Murray, Le'Veon Bell, Trenton Cannon and Devonta Freeman.
"When something like that happens, you really just get into sprint mode, get them as much of a foundation as you can, kind of coach as you go," Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said on the Ravens' official website. "I call it country coaching. You coach them in the hallway, in the cafeteria, everywhere. It's a sprint and I really trust how these guys are attacking it. These guys are really good players."
The Raiders are looking to get over the hump. They finished second in the AFC West standings but failed to make the playoffs after posting an 8-8 record. Since 2000, the Raiders have only reached the playoffs four times and haven't won a playoff game since their Super Bowl season in 2002.
"I don't really feel pressure," Raiders coach Jon Gruden told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. "Mark Davis is going to let me know if it's good enough or not. And I know what's good and what isn't. I'm 58 years old now, and I'm not working any less than I did when I was 38. So I'm doing the best I can. I'm proud of the results we have gotten, but also realistic. I know what's at stake. But I'm not going to worry about it."