With eight games down, here are the quarterbacks the Oakland Raiders will have already faced: Joe Flacco, Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, Andrew Luck, Mitchell Trubisky, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford. Surely there is a break coming soon, right? Right?
Well, if there is a break, it’s coming — as the second half of the season, while not easy, is definitely easier. Is this where the Raiders build some momentum and rattle off some solid performances?
Week 10: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Thursday)
The short week is always a brutal one, but I’d imagine that when you’re the underdog, you take it. Even though this is a home game, the Raiders are sure to be giving up points in Vegas when the consistently solid Chargers come to town. While the string of great quarterbacks the Raiders have seen will end eventually, it’s not this week as nearly-38-year-old Phillip Rivers comes to town.
In two games against the Chargers last year, the Raiders managed just 16 total points — losing the two matchups by a combined 30 points. Then again, it’s hard to blame the Raiders too much — the Chargers won 12 of 14 games to end last season before losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Patriots (in a game that was probably closer than the scoreline shows).
This will also mark Tyrell Williams’ first game against his former team, so the revenge factor could come in to play.
Week 11: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Aside from Week 1 against the Broncos, my guess is this is the only other game so far in which the Raiders might come into the game as favorites. And yes, it’s Week 11 at this point.
The Bengals head into this season with a new coach — Zac Taylor, who just turned 36, making him younger than the quarterback the Raiders will have just faced. As of today, Taylor’s starting quarterback remains Andy Dalton — although Ryan Findley, who the team grabbed in the fourth round, may be pushing for playing time as the season rolls on. The Raiders have lost their last three matchups against the Bengals.
Week 12: at New York Jets
As much as a dumpster fire as the Jets seem to be off the field, the good news for Gang Green is that on the field things appear to be looking up. Long thought to be the best quarterback in the 2018 draft, Sam Darnold enters his second season with big expectations — as well as a new toy in running back Le’Veon Bell.
In this battle between former-disgruntled-Steelers, two teams who went 4-12 last season will face off in New York. As long as the Raiders don’t look ahead to a Week 13 matchup against the Chiefs, this remains their most winnable road game of the season — even if it is a 10 a.m. PT start.
Week 13: at Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill will not end up being suspended by the NFL after all, so not only will the Raiders have to face him in Week 2, but Week 13 as well. This will be a gut-check game for Jon Gruden and his staff — to see who really wants it, as they try and motivate their guys for a road game against one of the league’s best teams.
Prediction: 2-2 (5-7 overall on the season)
The Raiders get their first road win of the season against the Jets, and add in a decisive home victory against the Bengals coming off a few extra days of rest from the previous Thursday night game. Aside from that? A couple of beat-downs from the Chargers and the Chiefs.