How the Raiders’ schedule shapes up in 2014:
Sun., Sept. 7 at New York Jets, 10 a.m.: Think the Raiders are getting sick of MetLife Stadium? It will be the third time in eight games in New Jersey after losing to the Giants last Nov. 10 and the Jets on Dec. 8. Jets backfield could have both Michael Vick and Chris Johnson. Quarterabck Matt Schaub has his Raiders debut, Big Apple style as the Raiders open on the road for the fourth time in five years.
Sun., Sept. 14 Houston Texans: Obvious storyline in the Raiders home opener. Schaub faces the team that dumped him after one bad season. Former Houston defensive lineman Antonio Smith, an excitable type anyway, will be even more so for this one.
Sun., Sept. 21 at New England Patriots: The last time the Raiders played in New England, it was the Thursday night regular-season opener in 2005. They were full of hope under Norv Turner, had traded for Randy Moss and added free agent running back Lamont Jordan. We know how that turned out.
Sun., Sept. 28 vs. Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium, London, 10 a.m.: This counts as a “home” game on the Raiders schedule, but it’s a pretty brutal road stretch to open the season. They start in New Jersey, play one game at home, face the Patriots, then board a plane in Boston bound for London and a week of practice leading up to a game against a Miami team hoping for a little chemistry after last year’s Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal.
Sun., Oct. 12, San Diego Chargers, 1:05 p.m.: Presumably rested coming off a bye from all that time on the road and jet lag, the Chargers and Philip Rivers come to town. A 27-17 late-night win over San Diego in Oakland last season was one of the high points of the season and the high-point of Terrelle Pryor’s short-lived career as Raiders starter.
Sun., Oct. 19, Arizona Cardinals, 1:25 p.m.: If the Cardinals introduce their offense, go ahead and assume there won’t be a lot of cheering for quarterback Carson Palmer or left tackle Jared Veldheer. Palmer essentially forced his way out of town. Veldheer’s curious exit was his own doing, Reggie McKenzie said. Veldheer maintains he wanted to stay.
Sun., Oct. 26, at Cleveland Browns, 1:25 p.m.: This game gets a lot more interesting if the Browns draft Johnny Manziel and make him the starter.
Sun., Nov. 2, at Seattle Seahawks, 1:25 p.m.: Of the nine teams the Raiders play that made the playoffs last season, only two come in the first eight games. The Seahawks, defending Super Bowl champions and the proud owners of Pryor by trade, mark the midway point of the season in about as good a measuring-stick game as you can find.
Sun., Nov. 9, Denver Broncos, 1:25 p.m.: For the last two years, it has looked like Peyton Manning is playing against eight men when he faces the Raiders. Defensive coordinator has a lot more veteran talent this time around, plus the Seahawks blueprint from the Super Bowl.
Sun., Nov. 16, at San Diego Chargers, 1:05 p.m.: The last time they played in San Diego on Dec. 22, Nick Novak kicked four field goals and Matt McGloin played his way out of the starting job as the Chargers prevailed 26-13. But at least Marquette King punted five times for a 54.2 average.
Thurs., Nov. 20, Kansas City Chiefs, 5:25 p.m.: Unless the Raiders have another game flexed to Sunday night (which can begin after Week 5), this will be the lone chance for the home crowd to get good and lubed up for a prime time affair. The last time the Chiefs were in Oakland, Jamal Charles kept getting open on screen passes and the Raiders elected not to cover him. He had eight receptions for 194 yards and four touchdowns.
Sun., Nov. 30, at St. Louis, 10 a.m.: The last time the Raiders played in St. Louis, the quarterback was Rich Gannon in 2002. The Raiders started the season 4-0, only to lose 28-13 to the Rams and quarterback Marc Bulger. First of back-to-back games against NFC West teams.
Sun., Dec. 7 San Francisco 49ers, 1:25 p.m.: Assuming they’re still healthy and in the lineup, this game will hold some significance for cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, who got lukewarm interest in San Francisco and came to play across the bay.
Sun., Dec. 14 at Kansas City Chiefs, 10 a.m.: Justin Tuck has expressed the hope that the Raiders are this year’s Chiefs, who went from 2-14 to the playoffs last season. Left unsaid is that they also hope that this year’s Chiefs turn in to last year’s Raiders. A potentially brutal weather game.
Sun., Dec. 21 Buffalo Bills, 1:25 p.m.: By this time, either the buzzards will be circling above coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie, or the town will be abuzz that they’re actually alive for a playoff berth.
Sun., Dec. 28, at Denver Broncos, 1:25 p.m.: Ah, nothing like Denver in late December. If they’re built as advertised, however, with good defense, a physical running game and a passing game that stresses completions and accuracy, the Raiders shouldn’t have to blame the weather.