Oakland Raiders 2012 Schedule Analysis

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The Athlon staff breaks down each and every schedule for the 2012 NFL season.

<p> Oakland Raiders 2012 Schedule Analysis</p>

Scheduling plays a huge role in the outcome of every NFL season. So the Athlon NFL editors will spend the next month dissecting each and every week of the 2012 slate for all 32 teams in the league.

Oakland Raiders 2012 Schedule:

Week 1: San Diego (Mon.)
Week 2: at Miami
Week 3: Pittsburgh
Week 4: at Denver
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: at Atlanta
Week 7: Jacksonville
Week 8: at Kansas City
Week 9: Tampa Bay
Week 10: at Baltimore
Week 11: New Orleans
Week 12: at Cincinnati
Week 13: Cleveland
Week 14: Denver (Thur.)
Week 15: Kansas City
Week 16: at Carolina
Week 17: at San Diego

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- Fans have to go back to 2007 to find the last time that Week 1 on the NFL season didn’t end with an AFC West Monday night divisional showdown. The Raiders will begin the season on primetime TV as the second Monday night game by hosting the San Diego Chargers. As a fan without a dog in the hunt, I am a huge proponent of the late night West Coast divisional battles to wrap-up the season’s first weekend. The last three have been decided by one touchdown or less with a grand total of 14 points separating victory from defeat.

- Strangely, the Raiders won’t face the Chargers again until the season finale as San Diego bookends the Black and Silver this year. After the Chargers visit Denver in Week 4 and Kansas City in Week 8, the Raiders won’t face an AFC West foe until Week 14. Three of the final four games, however, will come against divisional opponents: Denver (home), Kansas City (home) and San Diego (road). Since there is no dominate team in the West this year, Oakland merely needs to hang around .500 until the final quarter-leg of the season — where it could win a division crown with a few upsets.

- Maintaining an even win-loss record will be impeded by the round robin with the AFC North. Having to visit Baltimore and Cincinnati in November is never an easy task and hosting Pittsburgh early in the year certainly poses a big challenge. Cleveland at home in Week 13 is the only “easy” game in the bunch. A 2-2 record against the North would likely be looked upon as a big success.

- In crossover play, the Raiders will face the NFC South. But this shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as facing the AFC North. New Orleans is reeling and could struggle on defense this year and has to face Oakland on the road. Tampa Bay makes one of the longest trips in the NFL when it comes to the Bay Area. And the road trip to Carolina is a flip of the coin. A trip to Atlanta looks like the only sure loss in the group.

- Oakland will play a road game every other week of the season until the final five weeks. In Week 13 the Raiders will begin a three-game homestand, something most teams will not have in 2012, when it hosts Cleveland, Denver and Kansas City. The Denver game comes on a short week on a Thursday and likely led to the schedule makers giving Oakland three straight at home. To compensate, the NFL has forced the Black and Silver to play back-to-back road games to end the year. A 3,000-mile trip to face Cam Newton in Carolina won’t be easy and a quick jaunt down to San Diego to finish the year could carry heavy implications.

- The bye week comes at an opportune time between two road games against excellent quarterbacks in Denver and Atlanta. With the Steelers’ game leading into the battle with Peyton Manning, the bye week should fall at just the right time for the new coaching staff following what should be two brutally physical contests.

- A road trip to Miami and a home game against Jacksonville are the two floating games on the slate this year. That has to have Raiders fans excited about their chances to compete for a wild-card berth.

Fantasy Focus: Here is some advice for owners targeting Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore or Carson Palmer: Don’t give up on your guys. The first month will be tough with games against four quality defenses before the off week. But with Jacksonville, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Carolina and Kansas City left after Week 7 (if Run DMC can survive), the Raiders' fantasy options should have solid second halves. 

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

2012 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:

AFC East
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC South
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans

AFC West
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

NFC North
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams

NFL Teams: 
NFL Conferences: 
NFL Divisions: 

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