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Important points for Raiders as 2012 NFL schedules released today

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In a few hours the Raiders and the rest of the NFL will find out what their 2012 schedule will look like. What we already know is who the Raiders will be playing and whether they are home and away. Here are the Raiders 2012 matchups:

Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers

Today we will find out quite a few details of which the Raiders will be waiting to hear.

First game of the season:

Who will be the first opponent with whom the team will be the most focused upon in training camp and preseason? That first game of the season can be crucial to setting the tone and getting off on the right foot. And it is usually a division opponent as well so it carries extra weight. Last season the Raiders opened with a win over the Broncos. It was their first season opening win in a decade (2002) and it was extremely important in getting off on the right foot.

First quarter of the season:

As important as the first game is, the first quarter of the season is even more important. Get off to a bad start and the team may not recover. Last season the Raiders started out the first quarter at .500 with a 2-2 record. And that is exactly how they finished the season-at .500. Losing to the Bills on their final drive in week two, was huge and if they had won, it may have made all the difference.

Primetime games:

Which (if any) primetime games will the Raiders have? This includes Thursday night, Sunday night, and Monday Night. Each instance means greater exposure and performing on a bigger stage. But perhaps more important, it could be a very short week. Thursday night games are the worst for this as players lose three days off their preparation and recovery time in the week leading up to it. Monday night games cause a short week the following week. It is essentially two days because is a late Monday game which, if they must travel to return home, they lose the next day as well. The Raiders are looking formidable and should have at least a couple primetime games.

Bye week placement:

All players want a midseason bye week. The bye week is an important time for injury recovery, not to mention a little bit of a break. If the bye week was too early or late, it makes part of the season seem extremely long. The Raiders have been lucky the last couple seasons with bye weeks at or near the middle of the season. Last season, the bye week was critical to give Carson Palmer extra time to acclimate to his new team and his receivers to acclimate to him. This year, I don't expect the Raiders to get lucky again.

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