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2019 NFL strength of schedule: Raiders have toughest schedule

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

If the Raiders are to bounce back in Jon Gruden’s second season at the helm, they won’t catch any breaks. This year, the strength of schedule in terms of opponents because based on 2018 records their road is the toughest in the NFL.

The Raiders will face opponents with a 2018 winning percentage of .539, which is highest in the league, just above AFC West rival Broncos (.533) and four spots ahead of the Chiefs (.520). Here is the top ten

Toughest:

1. Raiders (.539)

2. Broncos (.533)

3. Jaguars (.531)

4. Texans (.527)

T5. Bears (.520)

T5. Chiefs (.520)

T7. Falcons (.518)

T7. Colts (.518)

9. Titans (.514)

10. Vikings (.512)

Easiest

1. Washington (.469)

T2. Jets (.473)

T2. Giants (.473)

T2. Patriots (.473)

T2. Rams (.473)

T2. Bengals (.473)

Not helping matters for the Raiders is once again sending a home game to London (Bears). And if they don’t work things out with Oakland, they will be sending every ‘home’ game elsewhere, even if just across the Bay.

Strength of schedule is not an exact science. In fact, with as much parity as there is in the NFL from one season to the next, it may not mean much at all considering it’s based on the win percentage of the season before.

Take last season for instance. Based on 2017 opponent win percentage, the Raiders had what was seen as the third easiest schedule in the NFL (.473). By the end of the season, the opponent win percentage was the second toughest in the league (.547) behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars (.549).

So, while many predictions for the Raiders’ record were giving them the benefit of the doubt in part because of what seemed to be an easy slate of opponents, it turned out to be fool’s gold. For what it’s worth, my prediction was 6-10 which was by far the lowest on the staff and had many fans telling me how wrong I was. Turns out they were right. I was aiming too high. But I digress.

Probably best to take the strength of schedule with a grain of salt and worry more about what the Raiders are going to do to give themselves a chance to compete with the rest of the league.