The Oakland Raiders have made upgrades throughout their roster, getting better at almost every position.
But there’s no way to know how much of an upgrade it all equates to until the season kicks off. That’s not for another four months.
But the NFL released teams’ 2014 schedule Wednesday evening. So how about a look-see?
Despite playing all four NFC West teams, the Raiders dodged a bullet. Nearly all of them come after the midway point — except Jared Veldheer and the Cardinals — so Oakland faces the “banged up” versions. Of course, the same goes for Oakland’s roster.
As things stand today, or pre-draft more specifically, the Raiders might not have the toughest schedule after all. Even their London game doesn’t look terrible on paper.
Nothing is certain until Oakland drafts. And even if they’re the unanimous winners of draft weekend, adding five-star players with all seven picks, people get hurt and other Raiders type things can happen.
Who knows, maybe a draftee will arrive to camp and fail a physical.
Any way it’s sliced, the Raiders are much improved. General manager Reggie McKenzie had one hell of a mentor in Green Bay’s Ted Thompson, who has basically created a first-overall pick and a seventh-overall pick out of nothing during a portion of his career.
Thompson’s other pupil, perhaps a “brother” of McKenzie, is John Schneider. That guy who came into Seattle in 2010, and then won a Super Bowl three years later. Yeah, that guy.
So there’s a chance — insert “Dumb and Dumber” voice here.
Getting into wins and losses this early in the season is foolishness. Utter stupidity. Which means it’s exactly what’s going to happen now.
All six of the Raiders’ non-division, non-West matchups, are against teams with shaky offensive lines. Perhaps Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Sio Moore can put up career numbers together. After all, that’s what McKenzie wants.
They might need to, too, since the same defenses aren’t much to scoff at, save for Miami. It might be a little early, but the week 3 game against the Patriots should already be chalked up as a loss.
Not something RaiderNation wants to hear, but barring the unforeseen, they can’t beat the Pats. Not this year. Unless Revis Island floods, Tom Brady goes down, and even then it’d be tough.
The Browns, Jets, Texans, and the home games against the Chargers and Chiefs, are winnable. Definitely.
Taking one or two divisional road wins, along with wins against the Cardinals and Rams, are what the Raiders will need to do in order to make the playoffs. Even then, they’ll probably have to get another big upset.
And, that too, is possible. After all, this is the NFL, and things happen.
2014 Regular Season Schedule
|Preseason||Opponent||Time – PT|
|Fri. 8/8||at Minnesota||5:00 p.m. KTVU/KICU|
|Fri. 8/15||Detroit||7:00 p.m. KTVU/KICU|
|Fri. 8/22||Green Bay||5 p.m. CBS|
|Thur. 8/28||Seattle||7 p.m. FOX|
|Regular season||Opponent||Time – PT|
|Sun. 9/7||N.Y. Jets||10 a.m. CBS|
|Sun. 9/14||Houston||1:25 p.m. CBS|
|Sun. 9/21||New England||10 a.m. CBS|
|10 a.m. CBS|
|Sun. 10/5||B Y E|
|Sun. 10/12||San Diego||1:05 p.m. CBS|
|Sun. 10/19||Arizona||1:25 p.m. CBS|
|Sun. 10/26||Cleveland||1:25 p.m. CBS|
|Sun. 11/2||Seattle||1:25 p.m. CBS|
|Sun. 11/9||Denver||1:05 p.m.CBS|
|Sun. 11/16||San Diego||1:05 p.m. CBS|
|Thur. 11/20||Kansas City||5:25 p.m. CBS|
|Sun. 11/30||St. Louis Rams||10 a.m. CBS|
|Sun. 12/7||San Francisco||1:25 p.m. FOX|
|Sun. 12/14||Kansas City||10 a.m. CBS|
|Sun. 12/21||Buffalo||1:25 p.m. CBS|
|Sun 12/28||Denver||1:25 p.m. CBS|