2014 schedule: Raiders open season at Jets

2014 schedule: Raiders open season at Jets
April 23, 2014, 5:00 pm
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Marcel Reece and the Raiders open the season at the Jets, play at New England in Week 3 and then in London in Week 4. (USATI)

The Raiders have one of the league’s toughest schedules, on paper anyway. The Raiders must contend with three playoff teams from their own AFC West, and another round of tough ones against the NFC West.

That much we already knew. After the schedule was released on Wednesday evening by the NFL, the Raiders feast before a possible famine. 

A hot start is essential to surviving this difficult schedule. They start the season with just one playoff team in the first four weeks. The Raiders open the season at the New York Jets, come home to play the Houston Texans, must survive a road game in Week 3 against New England before playing Miami in London. In order to start strong, the Raiders must win games in the Eastern time zone and beyond, an accomplishment they haven't hit since 2009. 

They bye comes the following week. 

The Raiders must fatten up, or at least find their own, before a cruel November where they play at Seattle, versus Denver, at San Diego and against Kansas City on Thursday night. They wrap a gut-punch of a month with a road game at St. Louis. 

There are some intriguing matchups later on, including a Dec. 7 home game against the San Francisco 49ers, which should be as passionate in the stands as it should be on the field.

[RELATED: Rivalries top Raiders' most intriguing 2014 games]

Quarterback Matt Schaub will play his old team, the Houston Texans, in Week 2. The Raiders will play their old quarterback when Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals come to Oakland in Week 7.

While it sounds tough, this game isn't played on paper. Strength of schedule is entirely speculative. Every year comes with surprise teams that are better or worse than expected (see, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs) and anything can truly happen. The Raiders loaded up on big-game veterans to maneuver this schedule and help the Raiders stay competitive no matter which team they play. 

Without further delay, here's the Raiders' schedule in its entirety. 

Raiders 2014 regular-season schedule
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 7, at N.Y. Jets -- 10:00 PT (CBS)
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 14, vs. Houston -- 1:25 PT (CBS)
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21, at New England 10:00 PT (CBS)
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 28, vs. Miami (London) -- 10:00 PT (CBS)
Week 5: Bye 
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12, vs. San Diego -- 1:05 PT (CBS)
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19, vs. Arizona -- 1:25 PT (FOX)
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26, at Cleveland -- 1:25 PT (CBS)
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2, at Seattle -- 1:25 PT (CBS)
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 9, vs. Denver -- 1:05 PT (CBS)
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16, at San Diego -- 1:05 PT (CBS)
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 20, vs. Kansas City -- 5:25 (NFL Network)
Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30, at St. Louis -- 10:00 PT (CBS)
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7, vs. 49ers -- 1:25 PT (FOX)
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14, at Kansas City -- 10:00 PT (CBS)
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21, vs. Buffalo -- 1:25 PT (CBS)
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28, at Denver -- 1:25 PT (CBS)