Breaking down the Oakland Raiders schedule for the 2017 NFL season by big matchups, tough tests and more
Get your big red marker and calendar ready! The NFL has finally released the full 2017 Oakland Raiders schedule and their are some big games on tap. With 16 games over 17 weeks, the Raiders look to take full control of the AFC West and potentially the conference as a whole.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to analyzing the schedule, though? This schedule breakdown has all the big games, road challenges and double down victories and key players you need to know.
The Raiders should be able to start strong with road games against the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos. Their home games will pit them against the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers. The Silver and Black should be able to start the season with a 4-2 record at worst.
Toughest Stretch: Weeks 11-17
The playoff run will be brutal. The Raiders face the defending Super Bowl Champs on Week 11 in Mexico City, and then go on a two game road trip against the Philadelphia Eagles and Chargers to finish the season. Oakland will need to get off to a strong start in order to absorb some of the punishment they will take down the stretch.
Ready for Primetime
The Oakland Raiders schedule is loaded with primetime games. Three games on Sunday night, and one on both Thursday and Sunday night. Three of the five primetime games are at home. Here are the dates:
Sunday Night Football
Week 3: at Washington Redskins Week 9: at Miami Dolphins Week 15: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 7: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 16: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
As the Raiders return to national prominence, they’ll be called upon to step up under the bright lights if they’re going to make a playoff run again in 2017.
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) on defense during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Week 4, at Denver Broncos: This is a huge early season matchup with an arch rival. Getting a win on the road against the Broncos would put the Raiders in the drivers seat in the AFC West. Key Matchup: Khalil Mack vs. Broncos O-Line
The Broncos quarterback situation is in flux. It is likely they will still be working out some of the bugs depending on who is under center for Denver. Khalil Mack could take advantage of a developing offensive unit.
Week 7, vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday Night Football): Another huge matchup as the season approaches the halfway mark. The Raiders will face their division rival for the first time in 2017 in front of what should be a volatile black hole. The Chiefs swept the Raiders last season and, if they plan to return to the playoffs, this is not only a big game but a must-win. Key Player: Derek Carr
The Chiefs were able to shut down Carr last season en route to a season sweep of Raider Nation. Carr needs to be at the top of his game for this one because the stakes are high. A win against the Chiefs combined with a win against Denver in Week 4 would make the Raiders the team to beat in the AFC West.
Week 15, vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football): Both the Cowboys and the Raiders should be neck deep in a playoff chase when they meet Week 15 on Sunday Night Football. This could be the last home game in Oakland for the Raiders, whose home field status for the 2018 season is up in the air. Key Match-Up: Marshawn Lynch vs. Ezekiel Elliott
If the Raiders are able to sign Beast Mode for 2017, we could watch the passing of the torch. Both Elliott and Lynch are punishing downhill runners — and both are controversial. Elliot could take the title as the leagues toughest running back with a great performance in this game.
Nov 21, 2016; Mexico City, MEX; (EDITORS NOTE: CAPTION CORRECTION) Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) avoids a tackle by Houston Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader (98) to score the winning touchdown at Estadio Azteca. Oakland beat Houston 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Tough Road Challenges
Week 9, vs. Miami Dolphins: A competitive Dolphins team plus an East coast trip has trap game written all over it. Especially since the Raiders could be in the driver’s seat after a favorable first half schedule. Key Player: Amari Cooper
Cooper makes a return to SEC country where he dominated as a standout wide receiver for Alabama. A big performance from Cooper would mean victory for the Raiders, who will need someone to step-up in order to put this game in the win column.
Week 11, vs. New England Patriots ( Mexico City): Could this be a preview of the AFC Championship?The Raiders will give up a home game to play the defending Super Bowl LI Champions on foreign soil. The last meeting between these two teams resulted in the now infamous “Tuck Rule.” The Raiders are .500 in international games, but this will be a test for Raider Nation as the enter the toughest stretch of the schedule. Key Matchup: Tom Brady vs. Raiders secondary
The Raiders “bend but don’t break” defense will be put to the test against the GOAT. Oakland struggled against the big play last season and they will need to take away the deep ball in order to prevail in this game.
Week 17, at L.A. Chargers: The Los Angeles Chargers should be out of it by Week 17, but the Raiders will be fighting for playoff position. The Chargers would like nothing more than to rip the heart out of Raider Nation on the final game of the season. Key Player: Derek Carr
Derek Carr took a large step forward in 2016 showing he has the leadership ability to lead his team to the playoffs. He is most certainly a top-10 quarterback, but is he elite? He can prove it by closing out the season on the road against a division opponent with the AFC West title on the line.
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gestures before the snap from center Rodney Hudson (61) during the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Week 5, vs. Baltimore Ravens: The Baltimore Ravens will wing it to the left coast for what should be a lopsided victory for the Raiders. The Raiders will be motivated coming off a big road game in Denver in Week 4 and looking to prove they deserve to sit atop the AFC West. Key Player: Coach Jack Del Rio
This game should be a win for the Raiders, but it has the danger of becoming a trap game. The game against the Broncos in Week 4 is a monster and, no matter the outcome, Del Rio will have to keep his team focused to be victorious over the Ravens. A big early season test for the Raiders head man.
Week 2, vs. New York Jets: There is no such thing as a lock in the NFL, but this game is as close as it gets. The Jets are a disaster and will probably have a rookie quarterback under center. Combine that with an exhausting West Coast trip and Jets should all but roll over and play dead. Key Player: Derek Carr