NFL Admits Raiders' Early Schedule Isn't Entirely Fair

Raiders won't have a game in Oakland after Week 2 until early November, and one NFL executive says he'd like to have a 're-do' on the schedule to make it better

The Raiders schedule in 2019 will be a challenge. How challenging? So challenging that one NFL executive believes it may not be fair to the team.

The schedule of every NFL regular-season game was released by the NFL Wednesday evening. Immediately, the Raiders’ schedule was seen as a tough, rocky road for a team trying to rebuild and rebound after going 4-12. Mike Moffitt of the San Francisco Chronicle called it “miserable.”

Jon Gruden's team in 2019 will have to survive an early-season marathon of hotel rooms, long distances and being away from Oakland. 

Based on strength of opponents from its own AFC West rivals and teams from the rugged NFC Central, the Raiders – even if they were among the best NFL teams – wouldn’t have an easy path to the playoffs.

But, consider this: From a Week 2 matchup at home against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 15, the Raiders don’t play in Oakland again until Week 8, a Nov. 3 game vs. the Detroit Lions.

Between those dates, the Raiders play at Minnesota, at Indianapolis, at London vs. the Chicago Bears (in what is designated as a home game for Oakland), have a bye week, play at Green Bay and at Houston.

Now, NFL vice president of broadcasting Michael North says that kind of schedule isn’t good for any team (also noting that Tampa Bay faces a similar handicap). In an ideal situation, he says the league would not do such a thing in its scheduling.

“This is one that the NFL would love to have back,” North told Nate Davis of USA Today. “It’s certainly not unusual for an NFL team to have one home game over a six-week stretch, but when that one home (game) isn’t actually home, this is likely something that the NFL would seek to avoid in the future. I’d love a re-do on that one.”

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