One week can make a big difference early in an NFL season. Seven days ago, the Steelers and Ravens looked like the class of the AFC North, as usual. Both were 2–0 and hadn’t even trailed in a game up until that point.
For the first time since 2002, the Oakland Raiders have begun the season 2-0. Last week, the Raiders destroyed the New York Jets 45-20 in their home opener. This week, the Raiders will be on the road in front of a national television audience as they will take on the Washington Redskins.
Much has changed since last season for the Chargers: They have new home in Los Angeles, a new coaching staff led by first-time head coach Anthony Lynn, and they have not (yet) been ravaged by injuries as they were in 2016.
The Raiders finished above .500 and returned to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2002, but their season ended on a sour note — and their offseason set the stage for a second messy divorce with Oakland and a planned move to Las Vegas in 2020.
Despite the NFL’s undisputed status as the most dominant professional sports league, it needs some improvement. A few lingering issues still require some resolution. In particular, scheduling, both during the regular season and postseason should be changed. I offer five proposals for changes and explanations for why they are essential.