We’re all glad that the Raiders are everyone’s sleeper pick for the playoffs this year, but if the schedule makers weren’t trying to make that as difficult as possible, they sure made it look like they were. Three road trips to the Eastern Time Zones in the first eight games, including one in the first four games, plus New Orleans for the season opener and Tennessee in Week 3. Three of the final four games are the division road matches. The Week 11 game against the Texans will be played in Mexico City, but counted as a home game.
Usually my motto is “win at home, win the division,” because if you just do those things, you’re automatically 11-5. But this year the Raiders will have to be effective on the road, and able to get off to a quick start, both in each game and in the season overall. They’ve made some nice moves in free agency and the draft, nothing splashy or spectacular, but definitely solid moves, especially on defense. Free agents Bruce Irvin and Sean Smith should help greatly, and second-round draft pick Jihad Ward made an impression in camp and preseason.
This should be a fun season with lots of impact players. GO RAIDERS!