After an agonizing long offseason, the regular season is finally almost here for the Oakland Raiders. Unlike last year, the Raiders are youthful and exciting. They’ve added some really talented players on offense and defense and most of the team looks completely different. Jon Gruden’s first year back in Oakland was marred by controversy and poor play. Now that Gruden has been able to assemble a team that’s more in line with his philosophy, the prospects for the Raiders are much higher.
The silver and black only have one playoff berth since 2002. It looked like the franchise had turned a corner in 2016 with a 12-4 season, but that was followed up with a disappointing 6-10 campaign. This led to Mark Davis bringing in Gruden to hopefully build a more consistent winner. Well, he didn’t get off to a great start, but 2019 should give us a much better idea of what to expect from the second Gruden tenure in Oakland.
Oakland Raiders Schedule
Week 1: vs. Denver Broncos – 9/9 (ESPN)
Prediction: A divisional game against the Broncos will always be tough for the Raiders. Oakland has won the last three games against the Broncos when playing at home and that shouldn’t change. While the addition of Vic Fangio as head coach should give Denver a formidable defense, it’s hard to think that their offense will have any firepower whatsoever. It’ll be close, but the Raiders will pull this one out.
Score: Raiders 21, Broncos 17
Week 2: vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 9/15 (CBS)
Prediction: After pulling off a week one win, the Raiders are going to have a tough game at home against the Chiefs. Derek Carr is 2-8 against Kansas City in his career and there’s no reason to think they’ve gotten any worse. It’ll be competitive, but the Raiders don’t have enough pieces on defense to slow down this high-powered offense.
Score: Chiefs 38, Raiders 27
Week 3: @ Minnesota Vikings – 9/22 (FOX)
Prediction: And this begins the Raiders’ brutal stretch on the road. The team will be facing another tough matchup against the Vikings, who should have a chip on their shoulder after a disappointing season. Minnesota has a stout defense and enough offensive prowess to pull out a win against the Raiders.
Score: Vikings 24, Raiders 21
Week 4: @ Indianapolis Colts – 9/29 (CBS)
Prediction: With the retirement of Andrew Luck, this game becomes a lot easier for the Raiders. Jacoby Brisset is a good backup, but he won’t have nearly the impact that Luck had on the team. Even though the Colts still have a good roster, Oakland shouldn’t have too much trouble with this squad.
Score: Raiders 28, Colts 14
Week 5: vs. Chicago Bears – 10/6 (FOX)
Prediction: In what is supposed to be a home game for the Raiders, the team will be flying off to London, England to face off against the Bears. This will be the first time that Khalil Mack will play against his former team. After two straight road games, the Raiders will be fatigued and fall to a Bears team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Score: Bears 27, Raiders 17
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: @ Green Bay Packers – 10/20 (CBS)
Prediction: Coming off a bye week, the Raiders should be reenergized and put up a strong performance against the Packers. Green Bay is coming off a down year and have a lot of unknowns with a new head coach. The Packers could return to Super Bowl form with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but this is a winnable game for the Raiders.
Score: Raiders 31, Packers 28
Week 8: @ Houston Texans – 10/27 (CBS)
Prediction: The Raiders will be feeling good after an upset win over the Packers, but their long road trip will hit them once again as they play their sixth game in a row away from Oakland. The Texans have some talented pieces on offense in DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson. They’ll prove to be too much for a tired Raiders team.
Score: Texans 35, Raiders 20
Week 9: vs. Detroit Lions – 11/3 (FOX)
Prediction: The Raiders are finally back home after an extremely brutal road trip. The Lions are a good team to come home to as they are also coming off a bad season. Matt Stafford can still sling it with the best of them, but there’s no reason to believe the Lions pose a big threat. Oakland should come out with an easy win.
Score: Raiders 24, Lions 14
Week 10: vs. Los Angeles Chargers – 11/7 (NFL Network)
Prediction: Oakland is back home on short notice for a game against the Chargers. The Raiders typically put up a good performance versus Los Angeles, but the short rest will prove to be too much. The Chargers have Super Bowl aspirations and they are loaded with talent. It won’t be easy, but Philip Rivers’ crew will leave Oakland with a win.
Score: Chargers 27, Raiders 24
Week 11: vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 11/17 (CBS)
Prediction: The silver and black get a third home game in a row and will face off against a weak Bengals team. Cincinnati doesn’t have a lot going for them and they have a rookie head coach. If the Raiders don’t blow them out then there are bigger problems that need to be addressed.
Score: Raiders 42, Bengals 17
Week 12: @ New York Jets – 11/24 (CBS)
Prediction: The Jets are coming off a bad year, but are very interesting in 2019. They added Le’Veon Bell and Sam Darnold should only get better. Don’t forget about Quinnen Williams, who should be an instant star. The being said, the Raiders have had the Jets’ number over the last few years. Oakland dominated them in 2017 and 2015. Coming off of a strong game versus the Bengals, the Raiders should pull off a close win.
Score: Raiders 21, Jets 18
Week 13: @ Kansas City Chiefs – 12/1 (CBS)
Prediction: And now the Raiders come back to earth after winning three of four. Derek Carr has not played well in Kansas City. Plus, the Chiefs are just really good. Oakland is improved, but they’re not ready to compete with the Chiefs.
Score: Chiefs 42, Raiders 28
Week 14: vs. Tennessee Titans – 12/8 (CBS)
Prediction: The Titans are a good team and almost made the playoffs in 2018. Mike Vrabel is an exciting young head coach and it’s reasonable to believe that Tennessee should be even better in 2019. However, Marcus Mariota is looking more and more like a bust. Few teams are able to survive bad quarterback play. The Raiders will take advantage of this and bounce back after a loss to the Chiefs.
Score: Raiders 34, Titans 28
Week 15: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – 12/15 (CBS)
Prediction: This one’s tough because it’s hard to tell which version of the Jaguars we’ll be getting in 2019. Will it be the 2017 version that went to the AFC Championship game or the 2018 version that ended with them getting a top-10 pick? Adding Josh Allen to an already loaded defense could mean that they have a top unit there. Also, if Nick Foles can play like he did in Philadelphia, the Jags could find themselves back in the playoffs. It’ll be a defensive game, but the Jags will narrowly beat the Raiders.
Score: Jaguars 18, Raiders 15
Week 16: @ Los Angeles Chargers – 12/22 (TBA)
Prediction: There’s no way the Chargers are finishing 2019 with two wins over the Raiders. A trip to Los Angeles will be a gloried home game for the silver and black. These two teams typically play close games, so it will likely come to down to the wire. The Raiders win this game with a vintage Derek Carr fourth-quarter comeback.
Score: Raiders 30, Chargers 27
Week 17: @ Denver Broncos – 12/29 (CBS)
Prediction: The Raiders have lost four of their last five games in Denver. Add on the fact that it will probably be cold and snowy in late December and Oakland is going to have a really hard time pulling off this win. It’s going to be a low-scoring, defensive game if the weather is bad. The Broncos have the better defense, so they’ll do just enough to finish the season with a win.
Score: Broncos 15, Raiders 10
Final Record: 8-8
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Season in Review
While an 8-8 season won’t bring the Raiders back to the playoffs, it’s a step in the right direction. They double their wins from 2018 and head into 2020 with a lot more swagger. This season should have a real 2015 Raiders feeling to them. They’ll be competitive and have some impressive wins, but they’ll still be a year away from serious playoff contention. If Derek Carr plays well, he’ll be the unquestioned leader of the team heading into the future. Expect big things from this young team in 2020.