Well as you all know, the 2019 NFL schedule is out. As usual, the league office has decided to make things as hard as possible for the Raiders, who not only have the league’s hardest strength of schedule but also have a week to week slate that might be the most difficult one ever seen in NFL history.
The Raiders will have to come screaming out of the gate. Stumbling early is not an option for the team this season, as they could easily find themselves winless going into Week 9 if they put forth the same putrid effort as last year.
There’s a reason I called this the “way too early” record prediction, and that’s because the Draft is next week and this team could look vastly different two Sundays from now than it does today. Furthermore, the Raiders still have some $18M in cap space to spend outside of the rookie pool, so they aren’t done spending by any means.
With three first rounders and that much money left, I’ll be acting under the assumption that the Raiders will have at least an average defense this coming season, if not an actual good one. They surely cannot be as bad as last year again, right?
Anyway, let’s get this going. I’ll take it week by week, and give my early prediction for their ultimate record on the year. Keep in mind that I have not consulted the Great Beyond for this, so all opinions and predictions are solely my own.
WEEK 1: Denver Broncos (Monday Night Football)
The last time we saw these chumps, the Raiders powerbombed them through a flaming table. The “Last Game In Oakland” was less a game and more a slaughter against a woefully unprepared and poorly coached Denver team. This year, they have a superior coach in Vic Fangio, but their roster still sucks. If Peyton Manning was a Ferrari, Case Keenum was an old pair of roller skates, and Joe Flacco is a Razor Scooter.
Prediction: W (1-0)
WEEK 2: Kansas City Chiefs
We’re not easing into this season, are we? Last year Oakland didn’t play the Chiefs until late in the season but this week they get KC in Week 2. The Chiefs are a fascinating team which is a bona fide juggernaut on offense and a total dumpster fire on defense. They’ve lost Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry, and will apparently be relying on Chris Jones to be their pass rush. He’s very good, but KC needs elite edge rushers and draft far too late to procure one next week. A lot of Chiefs games are going to be shootouts, giving Patrick Mahomes flashbacks to his Tortilla Tech days. Still, Mahomes is good enough to win games on his own even with total scrubs around him. This Chiefs team, as it stands today, is VERY scrubby.
Prediction: L (1-1)
WEEK 3: At Minnesota Vikings
The Raiders finally take to the road and head to the Twin Cities for a matchup with the Vikings. The once-proud Vikings defense was a disaster last season and Kirk Cousins was very average. He of the new contract, Adam Thielen, and fellow wideout Stefon Diggs are extremely dangerous, as is running back Dalvin Cook, but the Vikings have apparently elected to play football without an offensive line. If the Raiders can land some pass rushers, that could get ugly for the lads in purple. Minnesota has done essentially nothing to improve their team in this offseason.
Prediction: W (2-1)
WEEK 4: At Indianapolis Colts
Oakland is on the road again in Week 4 (this is going to become a pattern), this time against Cpt. Andrew Luck and a really tough Colts squad. The Colts have drafted really well lately and have quietly built a solid squad. The Colts are a tough out at home, and I’m not sure the Raiders are up to the task just yet. This game will be a good litmus test of how Oakland is coming along in the second year under Jon Gruden.
Prediction: L (2-2)
WEEK 5: Chicago Bears (in London)
The Bears were the team that was willing to pony up for Khalil Mack, and where did that get them? They won the same amount of playoff games as the Raiders did. The Bears have already had to restructure Mack’s deal, and they may be in deep kimchi when they have to pay Mitchell Trubisky. But for now, the Bears remain one of the best teams in the NFL (in the regular season) and trips across the pond haven’t been kind to the Raiders since the invasion of Northumbria.
Prediction: L (2-3)
WEEK 6: BYE
Previous Raider teams had trouble with the Bye, but this team should be more focused. I wouldn’t be shocked if they shut out Bye.
WEEK 7: At Green Bay Packers
Oh, good, Oakland gets to go to the frozen tundra of Lambeau. Luckily, this game will happen in mid-October, when the weather shouldn’t be overly severe. Unluckily, the Packers still have A. A. Ron Rodgers and a coach that isn’t noted doofus Mike McCarthy. The Packers are the league’s most perennially overrated team, but as long as they have Rodgers that will be the case. The Raiders are quite likely to be the better team at this point in the season, but Rodgers has a way of pulling improbable wins out of his fundament.
Prediction: L (2-4)
WEEK 8: at Houston Texans
Last year, Houston was a playoff team, and they’re my pick for the team that will fall off the most. They depend so much on Deshaun Watson, who when healthy is electric, but who plays a dangerous style. The team goes as he goes, and this game is late enough in the season where Watson may have taken one too many hits.
Even if not, the Raiders match up well with the Texans and as long as Gareon Conley is in top form should be able to outscore Houston even on the road.
Prediction: W (3-4)
WEEK 9: Detroit Lions
The Lions are booty. Yes they have Darius Slay, but they don’t have many weapons on offense that would give anyone pause. You’d think that they would want to surround their highly paid quarterback Matthew Stafford with weapons (as the Raiders have just done for Derek Carr), but instead they have the sorriest sack of boys in blue seen since Reno 911 was still on the air. Antonio Brown vs. Darius Slay could be the best individual matchup we see all season. Unfortunately for the Lions, Oakland has more weapons than that.
Prediction: W (4-4)
WEEK 10: Los Angeles Chargers of South Central Milpitas (Thursday Night Football)
Last year the Chargers dispatched the Raiders twice and both games were ugly. The Chargers were a playoff team, only to later be exposed as a fraud by the Patriots. LA got all of their injuries out of the way before the start of last season, will they be so lucky this year? I have to feel like their luck is about to run out, and Phyllis Rivers won’t be long for the team. The Chargers have good coaching and a young core, but they have to turn back into the Chargers at some point.
Prediction: W (5-4)
WEEK 11: Cincinnati Bengals
If there’s anyone who knows how to beat the Bengals, it’s Antonio Brown, who terrorized them for the last eight years. The Raiders suffered an embarrassing loss to Cincy late last year, and they won’t let that happen again. By this point in the season, and Andy Dalton Experience could be over and the Bengals could be starting whichever rookie QB they draft next week.
Prediction: W (6-4)
WEEK 12: At New York Jets
The Jets select... Fullback...
Roger Vick, Texas A&M.
Prediction: W (7-4)
WEEK 13: At Kansas City Chiefs
This one’s a no from me, Dawg. If the Raiders manage to pull this one out it would be a documented miracle, and Jon Gruden would be beatified by Pope Francis.
Prediction: L (7-5)
WEEK 14: Tennessee Titans
The Titans might as well be in Oakland’s division because they play them every year. Tennessee is really nothing special, but they always manage to give the Raiders a tough fight. We can presume Ryan Tannehill will be starting for the Titans by this juncture, and a surging Raiders team could handle them.
Prediction: W (8-5)
WEEK 15: Jacksonville Jaguars
Sooooo the last two games at the Oakland Coliseum are against teams that did not exist when it was built? Well isn’t that special. The Jaguars were awful last year, but that may be due to Blake Bortles, who has been replaced by former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Unfortunately for Foles, the Jaguars don’t have as many offensive weapons as his Eagles did, so who knows how much success he will have.
Prediction: W (9-5)
WEEK 16: At Long Beach Chargers of Orange County
Raider games at the Chargers have a long-standing tradition of being de facto Raider home games, and this one will be no exception. However, the Chargers are a proud franchise with a storied history of epic playoff flameouts and they will be keen to set themselves up for another one with a win here.
Prediction: L (9-6)
WEEK 17: At Denver Broncos
By this point in the season, Denver could be starting a schizophrenic hobo at right tackle who wards off defensive ends with his breath and constant ravings about how the CIA stole his teeth. Joe Flacco will have suffered his fifth concussion of the season and torn both rotator cuffs after trying to throw left-handed. But no matter how bad the Broncos are, they are a tough customer at home especially in late December when it will be so cold the pirate on the Raiders’ helmets will actually ask for a hooded sash.
Prediction: L (9-7)
I could be way off base here. Several of these could go the other way. But as long as the team keeps their head above water early on, the schedule eases up in the later weeks. Despite this ridiculously tough set of games, the Raiders have truly done more to improve their team than any other team in the NFL this offseason and if they snag some difference-makers in the Draft next week they could conceivably make a playoff push.
How many games will the Raiders win this season?
This poll is closed
Less than 7
More than 10