This week, we here at the Last Word Pro Football will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Oakland Raiders most difficult games are the focus.
Oakland Raiders Most Difficult Games in 2017
8. Week Six, Los Angeles Chargers
It might be a bit of a shock to see that the home game against the Los Angeles Chargers ranks higher than either game against the Denver Broncos, but frankly, they’re a bigger risk. They match up well against the Raiders, and the Broncos have struggled with the Silver and Black since Peyton Manning‘s play fell off. If the Raiders haven’t found a way to stop tight ends, this match-up against Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry won’t be easy. That’s without mentioning the development of pass rusher, Joey Bosa.
Why the home game and not the away game? Because just like in San Diego, there will be more Raiders fans than Chargers fans in Los Angeles. If both teams are fully motivated, like they will be in Los Angeles, the Raiders come out on top.
7. Week One, at Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are a strange team. On one hand, they might be a really good team in 2017. Additions like Eric Decker give the team some serious depth. However, if Marcus Mariota struggles to come back from injury, or the players they added in the off-season aren’t as good as the Titans thought they were? It could be interesting.
6. Week Five, Baltimore Ravens
There’s a bit of a mini-rivalry forming between the Oakland Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens. Only a few years after the Ravens gave the Raiders one of the worst beatings in franchise history, the Raiders have a bit of a win streak going over the purple birds. However, Joe Flacco and company have played the Raiders hard both times, and Derek Carr has had to steal wins. They might need another three touchdown game out of Michael Crabtree if they want to win this game.
5. Week Seven, Kansas City Chiefs
The first of two meetings between the Raiders and their bitter rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, this game is important. The Raiders haven’t been able to beat Kansas City lately, and when they host the red and gold early in the season, they need to come away with a win. Hopefully the Raiders can actually contain Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill this time.
4. Week Fourteen, at Kansas City Chiefs
What’s harder than a game against the Chiefs at home? A game against the Chiefs on the road. They won’t be any easier to beat at Arrowhead, so the Raiders will really have to bring their A game. Maybe Obi Melifonwu is the answer to Oakland’s tight end problem.
3. Week Fifteen, Dallas Cowboys
This game is going to be a lot of fun to watch. Even if Oakland doesn’t improve on defense, taking on the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant is no simple task. However, against a mediocre secondary, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper should have a field day. The Raiders have a very real shot at winning this game, but they’ll have to play very clean football.
2. Week Thirteen, New York Giants
This game is almost the opposite of the Cowboys game. This time it’s Oakland that will be tasked with stopping high level wide recievers. They’ll have to contain Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, and that’s without including Sterling Sherpard. Sean Smith and David Amerson will have to play their best football if they hope to stand a chance.
1. Week Eleven, New England Patriots
This one is pretty obvious. Facing off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Mexico City will be Oakland’s biggest task in 2017. This game is arguably the most important single season match-up of the year for any team. A win for New England would be business as usual, but a win for Oakland would be a coronation. The coronation of the AFC’s newest superpower. If the Raiders can’t contain tight end Rob Gronkowski, Derek Carr will have to out-duel Tom Brady, and as Matt Ryan learned last year, that’s no easy task.
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the article about Oakland’s eight easiest games!