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NFL Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders’ Schedule Increases Opportunity for Playoff Push in 2011

The Raiders’ 2011 schedule was released on Tuesday, and it clearly holds an advantage over its AFC West rivals this season.

The Raiders have the 23rd hardest schedule in the NFL. Not bad at all. Denver has the 3rd hardest, Kansas City has the 7th, and San Diego has the 9th. That is crazy beneficial to the Raiders.

Monday, Sept 12: Raiders at Broncos, 7:15 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 18: Raiders at Bills, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Sept. 25: Jets at Raiders, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 2: Patriots at Raiders, 1:15 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 9: Raiders at Texans, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 16, Browns at Raiders, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 23: Chiefs at Raiders, 1:05 p.m.

BYE WEEK

Sunday, Nov. 6: Broncos at Raiders, 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10: Raiders at Chargers, 5:20 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 20: Raiders at Vikings, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27: Bears at Raiders, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4: Raiders at Dolphins, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 11: Raiders at Packers, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 18: Lions at Raiders, 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 24: Raiders at Chiefs, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 1: Chargers at Raiders, 1:15 p.m.

I don’t think Oakland could have asked for a better case scenario. Not only do they start the season off with two very winnable games (the opener on Monday Night Football), the games are also against cold-weather teams in September. That’s the best time.

If the Raiders get a quick start against the Broncos and Bills, they’ll have the luxury of playing two of the hardest teams at home, the New England Patriots and New York Jets. That’s very beneficial to have two easy games followed by two tough games. Momentum could be on Oakland’s side.

Also notice the Raiders have a mid-season bye week. That’s perfect, as it gives the team a fresh start after 7 games instead of potentially stopping momentum for a playoff push after, say, 12 games.

The Raiders finish the season with two division games, which could very well determine who will be representing the AFC West in the 2012 NFL Playoffs.

The main complaint about the schedule here is Green Bay in December. It’ll be very tough to pull of a win there, but if the Raiders do, it’ll be a great step into proving they are an elite team.

All in all, good schedule. I’m happy with it. I bet Al Davis and the Raiders are as well.