Before the release of the 2014 schedule, it was known that the season wouldn’t be kind to the Oakland Raiders. Six of their 2014 opponents made the playoffs, including all three of their divisional rivals. In addition, they play the Cardinals and Dolphins, who barely missed the playoffs, and the Rams, who are better than their 7-9 record suggests.
Week 1: the Raiders start the season on the road taking on the Jets at the Meadowlands. While its unknown if Michael
Vick or Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback, the Jets are a rapidly improving team. Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory provide a hammering ground attack and they field a top 10 defense. Prediction: Oakland loss.
Week 2: the following week, Houston comes to the Black Hole. Oakland took down Houston last season, and the only change is that Oakland now has former Texan Matt Schaub under center and the addition of whomever Houston takes number one overall. Oakland’s increased talent makes it an easy win. Prediction: Oakland win.
Week 3: Oakland then travels back to the Northeast to visit the Patriots. Unless the Raiders overhaul the defensive scheme and add a defensive difference maker in the draft, this game smells of a blowout as Tom Brady will embarrass the Raiders secondary. Prediction: Oakland loss.
Week 4: Oakland then comes back home to take on the Dolphins. It’s notable because it will feature two almost completely rebuilt lines squaring off between the Oakland defensive line and the Miami offensive line. Not exactly primetime viewing, but should be a good early test if Oakland is truly ready to compete in the AFC. Prediction: Oakland win.
Week 5: Bye week.
Week 6: Oakland comes out of the bye week to a gauntlet. They start with a home game against the Chargers. Although Oakland split the series last season, the Chargers finished 2013 strong by advancing to the Divisional Round. It won’t be a massive blowout, but Oakland will have to earn every yard. Prediction: Oakland Loss.
Week 7: Arizona comes to town. The Cardinals came on strong last year, winning ten games but missing the playoffs. Their defense is one of the best in the league, and Carson Palmer returns to his most recent team able to sling it over the field. Prediction: Oakland Loss.
Week 8: Oakland gets a reprive from slaughterhouse row by visiting Cleveland. However, this isn’t your father’s Browns. The Browns have built up a top notch defense and are likely to improve their offense in the draft this year. However, Oakland still could pull it out. Prediction: Oakland Win.
Week 9: Another road game, and this one is the toughest. The Raiders go to the Pacific northwest to play the Seahawks at Century Link. The reigning Super Bowl champs are 15-1 at home in the regular season the past two years, and are a stacked roster across the board. Prediction: Oakland loss.
Week 10: Despite Peyton Manning being older, the Broncos are even better than last season. Even though they lost Champ Bailey, Eric Decker, and Shaun Phillips, they added Aqib Talib, Emmanuel Sanders, and Demarcus Ware. This wont end well. Prediction: Oakland Loss.
Week 11: Now the Raiders travel to San Diego for their second seasonal bout with the Chargers. The series could well be split if Oakland gets better as the season progresses and injuries run rampant. Prediction: Oakland Win.
Week 12: If theres one team the Oakland Raiders can look to for hope, its their opponent in that week, the Kansas City Chiefs, who went from first overall pick to a playoff berth. The Chiefs are losing three offensive line starters, but still are a tough team. This is also the Raiders’ sole primetime game of the year. Predication: Oakland Loss.
Week 13: The gauntlet finally gets light when the Raiders visit the St. Louis Rams. The Rams aren’t a cakewalk, but theyre easier than the rest of the NFC West. The Rams have one of the best defenses that no one knows about, and their offense can stay in games. Prediction: Oakland Win.
Week 14. Oakland finishes up the NFC West cycle by battling San Francisco in the Battle of the Bay. While San Francisco is a state of chaos, with legal troubles and losing their top cornerbacks, they are still a dominant team that came within seconds of a Super Bowl berth. It could be scary to watch, and not just in the stands. Prediction: Oakland loss
Week 15. This might be similar to the first game of the season. Kansas City is just too talented unless the Raiders can handle the KC defense and beat Jamal Charles. Prediction: Oakland Loss.
Week 16. Oakland’s home finale brings the Buffalo Bills to town. While Buffalo is erratic on offense, they still have a strong defense with playmakers like Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso. But There is a lot of upside here for Oakland. Prediction: Oakland Win.
Week 17. The Raiders’ season ends by playing the Broncos in Denver. It will likely be uglier than the first meeting of the season if Denver is tuning up for another deep postseason run. Prediction: Oakland loss.
Although a 6-10 record does not seem like it’s a good thing, it really is considering its two more wins than the previous season while playing the toughest schedule in the NFL. Another losing season might cost Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie their jobs, but they might as well set the team up with a good roster for years to come.