Ranking the Oakland Raiders’ Five Non-Divisional Road Games In 2015


Oct 26, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Jim Dray (81) makes a catch as Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) and Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Sio Moore (55) defend during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns beat the Raiders 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to road schedules, one can’t help but to think the Oakland Raiders got a pretty sweet setup in 2015. It’s definitely not the toughest road slate in the league and there isn’t a single game outside the division where it doesn’t feel like they don’t have at least a chance.

As far as the AFC West goes, you probably focus on those teams more so than others. As a result, you pretty much already know what you are going to get. Today, I’m ranking Oakland’s five non-divisional road games in 2015 in terms of degree of difficulty from most manageable to most difficult.

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Here is what I came up with:

5. September 27 at Cleveland — The Raiders are a team on the rise with young talent all over the field. The Browns, on the other hand, are a team in perpetual disarray looking for both a leader and an identity. Oakland should be favored in the game, as the only Browns unit I see maybe challenging the Raiders whatsoever would be the running backs — and that’s a big maybe. The Browns should be playing from behind for most of this one, limiting the touches by Cleveland young running back group.

4. November 29 at Tennessee — It will be the second half of the season and Marcus Mariota should be settled in by now. That said, he still won’t have the most dangerous supporting cast. Tennessee won’t be able to exploit what some are calling a weak Oakland defensive line, as they aren’t exactly the most stout run-blocking force up front. On the other side of the ball, the Titans don’t have the horses to hang with Oakland’s offensive weapons.

3. October 4 at Chicago — The Bears are going to be tough to figure out this season. I have more respect for Jay Cutler than most and feel like John Fox will be a calming presence. Matt Forte is still one of the best backs in the league, not to mention he’ll be running behind one of the best up-and-coming lines you’ll see playing on Sundays. This could end up being a shootout before all is said and done, due to question marks on the Chicago D.

2. November 8 at Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh can both pound the ball on the ground and throw it downfield as well as any team in the league. This will be a problem for Oakland’s defense. On the other side of the ball, a revamped Steeler secondary leaves some questions marks. I can see the Raider passing game getting the better of them. If Oakland is going to win this game, it’ll be in a another high-scoring affair.

1. November 22 at Detroit — I’m expecting big things from Matthew Stafford this season. Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson could emerge as the best receiver duo in the NFL — and that’s a problem for Oakland’s secondary. The addition of Ameer Abdullah give Detroit yet another explosive weapon on offense. The Lions will be as dangerous as anyone in the league on that side of the ball. Even without Ndamukong Suh on defense, Detroit will still march a respectable unit onto the field — enough so to make it difficult for the Raiders to keep up on the scoreboard.

My best case scenario for Oakland in this slate of games is 4-1, as I just can’t see them beating Detroit at Ford Field. Worst case is 1-4. If the Raiders can’t be Cleveland, it’ll be a long season.

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