Tough start to Oakland Raiders' schedule could have them in early hole

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The NFL has released its 2019 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Oakland Raiders.

Game-by-game prediction

Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez is predicting a 7-9 finish:

Sept. 9 (Monday): vs. Denver, Win

Sept. 15: vs. Kansas City, Loss

Sept. 22: at Minnesota, Win

Sept. 29: at Indianapolis, Loss

Oct. 6: vs. Chicago in London, Loss

Oct. 13: Bye

Oct. 20: at Green Bay, Loss

Oct. 27: at Houston, Loss

Nov. 3: vs. Detroit, Win

Nov. 7 (Thursday): vs. L.A. Chargers, Loss

Nov. 17: vs. Cincinnati, Win

Nov. 24: at N.Y. Jets, Win

Dec. 1: at Kansas City, Loss

Dec. 8: vs. Tennessee, Win

Dec. 15 vs. Jacksonville, Win

Dec. 21/22: at L.A. Chargers, Loss

Dec. 29: at Denver, Loss

Strength of schedule: 1, .539

Breakdown

Sure, business might be, as new receiver Antonio Brown likes to say, boomin’, with 20 new players on the Raiders’ roster for their final season in Oakland, California. But only two games in prime time? With outsized personalities with likewise contracts on the roster, with one foot in the East Bay and the other in Las Vegas, you’d think even a team coming off a 4-12 pratfall would warrant more national attention. After all, Jon Gruden is still the coach and Mike Mayock is learning the general-manager gig on the fly. In fact, Oakland has seven 1 p.m. ET start times in 2019, the most for any West Coast team since 2002, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Raiders might get homesick after playing their first two games on the baseball dirt infield, because after that Sept. 15 game against the Chiefs, they will not play in Oakland again until Nov. 3. If the Raiders can survive the early-season grind, they could get on a nice run in November and early December. Even if four of their final six games are also on the road. Maybe the NFL schedule-makers are punishing the Raiders for taking so long to find a home for 2019?

Khalil Mack over tea and crumpets?

No, the Oakland faithful will not get a chance to bid a farewell, fond or otherwise, to their 2016 NFL defensive player of the year, who was traded to Chicago for a haul of draft picks in the midst of his holdout last Sept. 1. Instead, the Raiders will face off against Mack in the new Tottenham Hotspur soccer stadium in London, a city where the Raiders have not fared well in losing to Miami and Seattle by a combined score of 55-17 in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr always insisted he was faster than Mack. We’ll see if he can elude him across the pond.

Oakland finale redux

You thought last Christmas Eve was bittersweet, the Raiders beating an ancient rival in the Broncos in what was thought to be the final game in Oakland? This time, the Jaguars get to play in an emotional cauldron Dec. 15 in what will be -- we mean it this time -- the final Raiders game in Oakland ... unless, of course, their Las Vegas stadium is not ready for the 2020 season. Team officials, though, fully expect to be in Southern Nevada by next year. The Raiders called the Oakland Coliseum home from 1966-81 and have again since 1995.