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NFL Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders: Predicting the 2013 NFL Schedule

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Oakland Raiders: Predicting the 2013 NFL season

Jason O. Watson- USA TODAY Sports

In theory, the Oakland Raiders’ schedule should be easy.

They have the fourth-easiest schedule in the NFL according to last year’s records and they play the two divisions in the AFC. They play the AFC West twice, which is the easiest of the four divisions.

At the same time, Oakland could be picking in the top-5 again next season. Thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland plays the third-place team in both the AFC East and North, not the worst teams in each division. They play a pretty good NFC East with no weak teams.

The Raiders have a stretch in the latter part of the season when they hit the road four times in a five-week span. They only travel to the East Coast twice, both times visiting the Meadowlands to take on the New York teams. Oakland will host two real toss-up games that will make or break its season.

Oakland’s bye week is well-placed to help the Raiders prepare for a really difficult stretch immediately following the bye. It also splits the season up nicely, giving fans a good sense of which direction this team is headed after six games, three of which are winnable.

The team also will play twice on national television, helpful for a team that has struggled mightily in recent years to stay in the national spotlight.

The predictions made in this post are obviously dependent solely on how the roster looks at this moment. Things will change after the draft and it is possible the Raiders will improve themselves before the opening kickoff.

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Week 1- at Indianapolis Colts

Kirby Lee- USA TODAY Sports

Going on the road in the season opener is always difficult. When you add in the fact that Oakland is taking on the best sophomore quarterback, it's almost impossible. The Raiders could be in big trouble against the Indianapolis Colts.

Prediction: Colts win.

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Week 2- Jacksonville Jaguars

Brett Davis- USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders could not have gotten a better matchup for the home opener. Oakland plays the only team in a worse position than it is and should be favored. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the perfect home opener for any team, but they are especially great for Oakland.

Prediction: Raiders win.

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Week 3- at Denver Broncos

Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

The first of the AFC West matchups is the hardest for Oakland. Heading into the Mile High City is always difficult, especially given how good the Denver Broncos will be this season.

Prediction: Broncos win.

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Week 4- Washington Redskins

Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

This is a game the Raiders could easily steal. The Washington Redskins' defense is subpar and the offense will be unknown until we see how Robert Griffin III recovers from his knee injury.

Prediction: Redskins win.

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Week 5- San Diego Chargers

Charles LeClaire- USA TODAY Sports

Oakland's first home divisional contest will be an interesting test between two middling teams. The San Diego Chargers are not the team they were earlier last decade, but they still have some weapons.

Prediction: Chargers win.

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Week 6- at Kansas City Chiefs

Chris Humphreys- USA TODAY Sports

Oakland has had some recent success in Kansas City and it may continue this season. The Kansas City Chiefs have made upgrades at quarterback and that's about it.

Prediction: Raiders win.

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Week 7- BYE WEEK

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA TODAY Sports

The bye is perfectly timed to get Oakland prepared for a brutal five-week stretch of the season. The Raiders should be around .500 at this point and we'll know a whole lot more about this team at this point.

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Week 8- Pittsburgh Steelers

Jason Bridge- USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers came to Oakland last year and suffered an embarrassing defeat. The Steelers can't afford to drop this game as they chase a playoff spot.

Prediction: Steelers win.

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Week 9- Philadelphia Eagles

Mike DiNovo- USA TODAY Sports

Oakland will have to deal with a Philadelphia Eagles team which should be comfortable with the new offensive scheme. Unless the Raiders' defense improves dramatically, this game could be an issue.

Prediction: Eagles win.

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Week 10- at New York Giants

Brad Penner- USA TODAY Sports

The most difficult game in this stretch, the Raiders travel for the first time this season to the Meadowlands. A road game on the East Coast is a bad formula for success especially against a team like the New York Giants.

Prediction: Giants win.

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Week 11- at Houston Texans

Stew Milne- USA TODAY Sports

This is a brutal game for Oakland, which is already reeling from the difficult stretch. This is where the season becomes a lost cause and changes start to come in the lineup. The Houston Texans are just too good.

Prediction: Texans win.

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Week 12- Tennessee Titans

Benny Sieu- USA TODAY Sports

This is the easiest game since before the bye week. It still is difficult, but the Tennessee Titans are still a year or so away from the playoffs.

Prediction: Titans win.

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Week 13- at Dallas Cowboys

Tim Heitman- USA TODAY Sports

Oakland returns to the national spotlight with a Thanksgiving game. The Dallas Cowboys will be the worst team in the NFC East and the best chance for the Raiders to steal a game against the NFC.

Prediction: Cowboys win.

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Week 14- at New York Jets

Steve Bisig- USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets will be in so much chaos, the Raiders will be able to take advantage in their second trip to the Meadowlands. New York has so many issues, you have to believe it will cost them eventually.

Prediction: Raiders win.

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Week 15- Kansas City Chiefs

Denny Medley- USA TODAY Sports

The first of three games against the AFC West to end the season, Oakland will be playing for a top-5 pick. The question of course is will the Raiders just be too good for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Prediction: Raiders win.

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Week 16- at San Diego Chargers

Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

San Diego is a difficult place to win, but this may be the year Oakland could do it. The issue is the Raiders may not have the talent to best the San Diego Chargers this year.

Prediction: Chargers win.

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Week 17- Denver Broncos

Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

The season will mercifully end with a home date with the division champs, the Denver Broncos. Once this season is over the true rebuilding process can finally begin.

Prediction: Broncos win.

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Final Summary

Troy Taormina- USA TODAY Sports

This may be an optimistic prediction, but the Raiders will probably finish around 4-12. This year will be trying for Oakland, but it will be a learning experience that will help for the future.