2008 Raiders Schedule
To the delight of the fans, the NFL announced the 2008 schedule today! Here is a link to the Raiders schedule:
You've got to hand it to the strong arm of the NFL marketing machine to continually keep the league's business front and center 12 months of the year. It is amazing how a league with 4 months of regular season games has such strong exposure 24/7/365. Think about it ... from January to December the league is on the minds of professional football enthusiasts.
January >>> Playoffs & SuperBowl
February >>> Pro Bowl & NFL Combine
March >>> Free Agency
April >>> Announcement of schedule plus the draft which is a cottage industry upon itself
May >>> Mini camps
June through July >>> Training camps and personnel moves
August >>> Exhibition season
September through December >>> Regular season games
Like many Raider fans, as soon as the schedule comes out I'm excited about picking which games to visit Oakland. I start looking at the matchups and dates to come up with a short list of possible games to select. My short list this year although subject to change consists of week 4 vs. SD, week 13 vs. KC, and week 15 vs. New England. The divisional games always are a high priority for obvious reasons.
A few observations and notes on the Raiders 2008 schedule:
* Besides the usual divisional foes, the Raiders are lined up to play the AFC East (New England, NY Jets, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills) plus the NFC South (Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers).
* This year's schedule seems favorable overall in a number of ways. There aren't any back to back east coast swing games. There aren't any road games where weather should be a factor excluding the possibility of snow flurries for the game in Denver on 11/23.
* The Raiders only face 3 teams that made the playoffs in 2007 (SD, New England, Tampa Bay).
* The Raiders have the 3rd easiest schedule based on their opponents winning percentage in 2007. The Raiders opponents had a combined record of 112-144 for a .438 winning percentage.
* The Raiders have 2 prime time games; MNF vs. Denver opener and NFL Network Thursday night matchup at divisional rival SD Chargers.
* Lane Kiffin will get to match wits in a battle of his offense vs. his father Monte's Tampa Bay defense.
* The only real downside to the 2008 schedule that I noticed was having the bye week so early in the season (week 5).
* Although the schedule for each team follows a predetermined formula, I find it rather odd that for the 3rd consecutive season, the Raiders will host the Houston Texans.
* Along those same lines, for the 3rd consecutive season, the Raiders are squared off with at least 1 SB participant from the previous year; 2006 (Pittsburg, Seattle); 2007 (Chicago, Indy); 2008 (New England).
* It will be very interesting to see some of the other teams high draft choices fare vs. the Raiders. Teams like Miami (#1 pick), Atlanta (#3 pick), KC (#5 pick), NJ Jets (#6 pick) and New England (#7 pick) are all on the 2008 docket.
The beauty of being a true fan is that when the official schedule comes out it marks a clean slate, a fresh beginning, and a brand new season filled with hope.