Raiders can finally look to 2014 and a rough schedule

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Well the Oakland Raiders long arduous season is over. It is over for all 32 teams. The short football winter begins today and it is never too early to take a look to the 2014 season. The Raiders have a difficult road ahead of them. Their opponents are known and where they will play has been determined. With the dates to be released later let’s take a look at the possible win-loss record for the Silver and Black this year.

The Raiders will be playing the AFC East and NFC West next season along with their two match ups with the each AFC West rivals. The remaining two games will be home against the Houston Texans and at the Cleveland Browns. Both of those games are very winnable for the Raiders.

The combined 2013 win-loss record for the Raiders 2014 opponents is a tough 115-93. The AFC East was not too formidable outside of New England this year with the other three teams in the division finishing .500 or worse.

The Raiders can realistically win at home against the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins. They will have to visit Foxboro and the Meadowlands. The Patriots will most likely win that match up after going 8-0 at home in 2013. The game versus the Jets is winnable despite a bad showing against New York in 2013.

The NFC West finished 2013 with the best divisional win percentage. Three teams finished with 10+ wins and the St. Louis Rams reached seven wins. The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals will come to O.co Coliseum and most likely grab two wins from Oakland. The Raiders will have to travel to Seattle; the home of the twelfth man and it is not likely they leave with a win. The Raiders can steal a lone win versus the NFC West at The St. Louis Rams.

Lastly the divisional games will be interesting as always. Every team in the division got better in 2013 despite the Raiders final win-loss record. These rivalry games always have some surprises in store. Look for the Raiders to split the season series with The San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. However, beating The Denver Broncos will still be too much of a leap for Raider Nation.

The Raiders have major opportunities to get better this year. Off-seasons like the one they are embarking on are not regular occurrences. The money they have to spend and the depth of this draft creates a prime situation for Oakland. With the right moves this team can win the above games and reach 8-8 in 2014. Of course these predictions are contingent on management making the right moves. Who knows what 2014 holds for the Raiders but it is never too early to look forward to the football season.

You can follow Sam Cowhick on Twitter: @SamCowhick
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