Believe it or not, the NFL did the Raiders a favor with the 2014 schedule. Sure, it’s tough schedule, but the opponents are predetermined. The order matters, but the NFL did everything they could to make it easier on the Raiders.
In Week 1, the Raiders travel to the eastern time zone to face the Jets. There was no way to avoid the travel, but playing that game in Week 1 eliminates some of the issues with the early start on the east coast. The Raiders can even get to the east coast a day early if they want. The Raiders have to travel to the east coast, but doing so in Week 1 or after a bye is the ideal time to do it.
The Raiders then come home and play what was the worst team in the league last year. Basically, the Raiders got the easiest home opponent on their schedule for their home opener. If the travel hurt the Raiders, at least they will have had a chance to get a win at home.
In Week 3, the Raiders head back to the east coast to play the Patriots. It’s brutal travel, but it was going to be brutal no matter when it happened. In this case, the Week 3 games is also for good reason. By playing in New England in Week 3, the Raiders can leave from the east coast for London. That’s a savings of 3000 travel miles had the Raiders left for London from the west coast.
The Raiders have a bye week after the game in London to get readjusted to the pacific time zone.
In Weeks 6 and 7, the Raiders get to stay home. No travel for three weeks after coming back from London is as good as it gets. The Raiders then go to Cleveland, who are arguably their weakest road opponent.
From Week 8 onward, the Raiders alternate home and away games. That means no tough road stretches. Playing in Seattle with Denver at home the following week is tough, but keep in mind that the Raiders play on the west coast for almost the entire month of November (at Seattle and San Diego, home against Denver and Kansas City).
The Raiders play the 49ers and BIlls at home in December. I don’t see how you can take issue with that, the opponents are the opponents. They do play two cold-weather games in Kansas City and Denver, but if the Broncos have nothing to play for in Week 17 the Raiders may get a free win.
There are only one or two tweaks to the schedule that would make it more ideal for the Raiders. Not playing Denver and Seattle in back-to-back weeks and trying to put one of the other cold-weather games in November instead of December. Ideally, the Raiders would have played St. Louis December 14th, Kansas City November 2nd and Seattle November 30th.
Overall, the Raider Nation has very little to complain about. The schedule doesn’t matter. Just Win, Baby!