The Raiders, for the first time in a while, seem to have a favorable schedule.
Of course that’s not an even comparison after so many years holding cellar-dwelling expectations. Oakland, though, has a schedule that would be favorable to almost any team.
Three road games in the first four weeks are followed by two home games against the Chiefs and Chargers, their first game against the Broncos also at home. The Raiders also play one international game, but in Mexico City, not London.
This is actually advantageous in terms of total miles traveled since Mexico City is 1.881 miles away, roughly the same distance between Oakland and Chicago. As Raiders luck would have it, the closest NFL city to Mexico City is Houston.
The team they’ll play.
Sun., Sept. 11 at New Orleans Saints 10:00 a.m. FOX
Sun., Sept. 18 ATLANTA FALCONS 1:25 p.m. CBS
Sun., Sept. 25 at Tennessee Titans 10:00 a.m. CBS
Sun., Oct. 2 at Baltimore Ravens 10:00 a.m. CBS
Sun., Oct. 9 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS* 1:25 p.m. CBS
Sun., Oct. 16 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS* 1:05 p.m. CBS
Sun., Oct. 23 at Jacksonville Jaguars* 10:00 a.m. CBS
Sun., Oct. 30 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers* 10:00 a.m. CBS
Sun., Nov. 6 DENVER BRONCOS* 5:30 p.m. NBC
Mon., Nov. 21 HOUSTON TEXANS# 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Sun., Nov. 27 CAROLINA PANTHERS* 1:25 p.m. CBS
Sun., Dec. 4 BUFFALO BILLS* 1:05 p.m. CBS
Thu., Dec. 8 at Kansas City Chiefs 5:25 p.m. NBC/NFL Network/Twitter
Sun., Dec. 18 at San Diego Chargers* 1:25 p.m. CBS
Sat., Dec. 24 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS* 1:05 p.m. CBS
Sun., Jan. 1 at Denver Broncos* 1:25 p.m. CBS
The Raiders’ get a Week 10 bye, which is a nice time for a team to rest and heal. But there’s a little more to it. On paper.
Four of the last five Super Bowl champions have held a bye in week eight or later. It’s arguable that fate and chance met and decided to have a little fun with statisticians, since week eight is the halfway point for byes, but a fun fact nonetheless.
The Raiders have four games against NFC South opponents, and open the season on the road versus the Saints. Former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is now the New Orleans defensive coordinator, surely making for good storylines, but also a hint of emotion for Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, and T.J. Carrie.
The aforementioned three were selected during the 2014 NFL draft, Allen’s final one with Oakland.
The NFC South is arguably the worst division in football, and in 2014, not one team posted a winning record. It’s an improving division, but far from what the AFC West was in 2015.
The Raiders also get three prime time games, one in Oakland, one in Kansas City, and one in Mexico City. There is the potential for more, as all eligible games on the schedule have been selected as flex scheduling alternatives.
Some Monday Night Football possibilities include the Packers at Eagles in late November, or Lions at Cowboys in late December.
One Thursday night that Oakland could take over is December 15, currently slated to be Los Angeles at Seattle. Oakland plays San Diego on the road that week.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.