As soon as the news came out that the Raiders were playing one of their home games in London next year, there were a few people, including former AFC West ESPN Blogger and current 49ers ESPN Blogger, Bill Williamson, who tossed out there as a reminder that the Raiders are scheduled to play the 49ers at home. That started a firestorm of rumors and next thing I knew, it looked like it was already scheduled that way.
The reasoning behind this is the security issue. The league put a stop to the two team's near annual preseason meeting a couple years ago because of violence between fans. So, because of that, there are some who think the league will get overbearing and extend that to the regular season by taking their scheduled meeting in 2014 and flying it to London.
First of all, the league doesn't like to send surefire hot ticket games overseas. The games over there are going to sell pretty well regardless of who the two teams are. They would be removing a game between two regional rivals that will sell every available seat and that is just not something they do. The NFL has never sent two regional or division rivals to London to play each other.
Putting a halt to preseason games is one thing. Keeping these two fanbases apart for a regular season game is completely another. The preseason match-ups were for convenience, bragging rights, and ticket sales for meaningless games that wouldn't otherwise draw much attendance. The regular season is not treated the same way.
Plenty of regional rivalries' fans hate each other. Fans of other NFL teams have this notion that because it's Raiders fans involved here that somehow this is different. It isn't.
Second of all, the 49ers are playing in London this season. No team has ever played in London in consecutive seasons. The Jaguars are about to become the first team to do so after this season because they have signed a 4-year deal to play a home game in London each of the next four seasons. No other team has signed any such deals.
Also, after their trip this season, the 49ers will have already played a game in three regular season international games since 2005 - more than any other team in the NFL. Plenty of other teams -- the Raiders included -- have yet to play a regular season game in London.
What we have as a result is a non-hot ticket home game for the Raiders against a non-division opponent. That leaves possible opponents as the Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, and the team in the AFC South which finishes in the same place in their division this season as the Raiders in the AFC West.
The AFC South teams are the Texans, Colts, Jaguars, and Titans. From the looks of things, the Texans and Colts will take the one and two spots in the AFC South with the Titans right behind them and the winless Jaguars easily dead last. While the currently undefeated Broncos and Chiefs are likely to take the one and two spots in the AFC West with the Raiders and Chargers battling for the final two spots. If the Raiders finish last, they would face the Jaguars. That meeting wouldn't be in London, however, because the Jaguars' London game is also a ‘home' contest.
That makes the most likely opponents for the Raiders in London in 2014 the Bills, Dolphins, or Cardinals with the Titans being a possibility as well if the Raiders finish third in the division. Not the 49ers.