While draft positioning is still up in the air, the 2017 NFL schedule is pretty much set. Nobody knows when the games will be played, but now you can see who and where. The Oakland Raiders will face the Houston Texans this weekend, but it’s not too soon to look ahead to who they will play next year.
Previewing the 2017 Oakland Raiders Schedule
Before jumping into the article, there has to be a disclaimer. Who knows what will happen this off-season. Between the draft and free agency, all of the teams on this list could be completely different by the time the season starts. So understand that the analysis here is based solely on the 2016 season, and might be completely obsolete by July.
New England Patriots
This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the hardest game on the schedule next year. Rumor has it that this game will be taking place in Mexico City, but even if it isn’t, this game might be tough. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and company are dangerous, and the Raiders haven’t beaten the Patriots since 2002. If the Raiders can win this game, they’ll be considered serious playoff contenders.
New York Jets
The Raiders have won three of their last four games against the New York Jets when hosting, and that shouldn’t change here. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are both in their 30s, and New York’s quarterback situation is a mess. Darrelle Revis, if he’s even still on the team, isn’t getting any younger. The Jets might be okay in a couple of years, but they shouldn’t be a challenge for the Raiders.
This game could be very interesting. Instead of playing a football game, they should just let the two offensive lines stand on the 50 yard line and fight. However, the commissioner probably won’t allow that. This game will be all about protecting quarterbacks wearing the number four and time of possession. This game should absolutely be in prime-time.
New York Giants
Odell Beckham Jr. could give the Oakland Raiders a lot of trouble if they’re still struggling in the secondary in 2017. The last thing the Oakland Raiders want is to see Sean Smith matched up with Beckham. However, if Khalil Mack and the Raider pass rush can get to Eli Manning, they’ll have a much better run.
In 2012, the Oakland Raiders lost 55-20 to the Baltimore Ravens. At this point, it’s the second worst loss in franchise history. Since then, the Oakland Raiders have won two in a row against the purple and black. Both games have been close but Derek Carr has thrown seven touchdowns in both games combined. This will be a big game for the Raiders as well.
AFC West Opponents
And as always, the Raiders will host the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Diego Chargers. In 2016, they were swept by Kansas City, they swept San Diego, and they split the series with Denver. These games are among the most important.
The Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans are two of the better up and coming NFL teams. Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are a couple of really good young good quarterbacks, and they had a pretty good game in 2016. The Raiders should win this game, but with plenty of draft picks, including two in the first round, who knows what the Titans will be like in 2017.
The Buffalo Bills gave the Raiders one hell of a run in 2017. Oakland had to pull off a miraculous comeback to earn the win. Sammy Watkins is a fantastic receiver and LeSean McCoy is a talented running back when healthy. They fired Rex Ryan recently, and a good coach could completely transform the team.
The Miami Dolphins quietly had a very good 2016 season. They flew under the radar and ended up making the playoffs. On the road, in Florida, they could present a tough challenge for the Oakland Raiders. Again, it’s far too early to say which games will or won’t be won, but this could be a fun game to watch.
The biggest problem with the Philadelphia Eagles is that they basically traded the farm for Carson Wentz. They sent two firsts, a second, a third, and a fourth to Cleveland to draft Wentz, and they barely have any cap space. They weren’t very good in 2016, and barring some crazy off-season moves, they won’t be very good in 2017 either.
This game could be really interesting. The Washington Redskins missed the playoffs in 2016, and they’re going to have a rough free agency. Kirk Cousins and Pierre Garcon will both see their contracts expire this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how they handle keeping their players. On the road, this game could go either way.
AFC West Opponents
And as always, the Raiders will travel to play the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Diego Chargers. Again, in 2016, they were swept by Kansas City, they swept San Diego, and they split the series with Denver. Division games are hard, but division games on the road are even harder.