With the Raiders aiming to see the postseason, looking around the conference becomes necessary
Games played in a team’s own conference may not automatically be more difficult, but there is just a little more pressure. When an AFC team plays another AFC team, there is a thought that in order to get to the Super Bowl, the team has to beat said AFC team.
Intraconference games can be seen as “tester” games; a game where the team can test how prepared for the offseason they are.
Like every team, the Raiders have their tester games. Unfortunately for the Raiders, due to the difficulty of their schedule, the team will be tested in more than just their conference games.
But before we get ahead of ourselves and start looking at Super Bowl matchups, fans should check out the teams the Raiders might face in the playoffs first.
2019 Conference Opponents
To start off the season, the Raiders face the Denver Broncos in Oakland. Las Vegas has given the Broncos the third best odds to win the AFC West (yes, the Raiders are fourth). Denver boasts Phillip Lindsay and Von Miller as their stars, but newly added Joe Flacco might be a better addition than the fans gave the Broncos credit for. Flacco did throw for only 2,465 yards last year, but he has thrown over 38,000 yards in his career, so it is safe to say he has been around for a while.
The Raiders more prepared to incite a shootout than a defensive battle. Should the Raiders get into a shootout with the Broncos, I would feel more confident in the Raiders’ offense.
Unlike the Broncos, Kansas City’s offense is far better than its defense. When a team boasts the league MVP from the year prior, their opponents may not feel optimistic. But, the Raiders face the Chiefs twice and cannot just write their singular meeting off as a “tough week.”
The Patriots showed us how to beat the Chiefs last year: Keep things close, manage to squeak into overtime, get the first possession, and score a touchdown. Should the Raiders not be able to follow that gameplan, a perfect, explosive offense and heavy pressure on the quarterback should keep things close.
While I do appreciate humor in my articles, this is no time for jokes about a team’s (mis)fortunes. Despite the retirement of their star quarterback, Andrew Luck, Indianapolis is still a force to be reckoned with. Jacoby Brissett has been around the league a bit and has established himself as one of the NFL’s best backups. Armed with a solid offensive line and a scrappy defense, the Colts still have the ability to beat a majority of teams in the league.
The Raiders cannot take this week off and must get into the backfield on defense and pull out all the stops on offense to leave the state of Indiana with a win.
Following their week 6 bye, the Raiders’ next AFC opponent is the Houston Texans. The Texans are another team that may have had their season plans shattered. The loss of Lamar Miller hurts those
who drafted him in fantasy football more than it hurts the Texans, as the team is still a favorite to win the AFC South.
Deshaun Watson, backed with an intimidating defense, with or without Jadeveon Clowney, leads an offense that could give even the most seasoned coaches fits.
The Raiders will find success if they can slow down the passing attack while making quick passes work for their offense.
The Raiders have to fight through 9 weeks before meeting the Chargers for the first time in the 2019 season. The wait unintentionally acts as a restraining order, demanding the Chargers give the Raiders space to figure out their identity and let the dust settle.
The Chargers are a very complete team, balancing defense and offense effectively. The best way to conquer a team like the Chargers is to start the game firing. Whether it be offense or defense, at least one side of the ball should be explosive.
AJ Green is assumed to be back on the field when the Bengals visit Oakland. The team is based more on running with Joe Mixon than passing with Andy Dalton. Cincinnati also appears scrappy defensively, but the Raiders should be well researched on the topic with Vontaze Burfict changing sides.
Another team assumed to be led by rushing, but Sam Darnold is quickly emerging as more than just a dependable quarterback. This game will take place in New York… in late November.
The Jets are a bit of a question mark due to their signing of Le’Veon Bell, who has not played a game since the 2017 season.
Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry, and the rest of the Titans will visit Oakland late in the season. This could be a playoff push game for both teams, but the Raiders should have the advantage in this one.
A strong defensive team adds a Super Bowl winning quarterback to complete the offense. Despite winning a Super Bowl, Nick Foles was the odd man out in Philadelphia. His signing fills the void of quarterback talent for the Jaguars.