Raiders have NFL's toughest 2014 schedule

Raiders have NFL's toughest 2014 schedule
February 11, 2014, 6:45 pm
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Dennis Allen kept his job as head coach of the Raiders, but will be tested next season as Oakland has the toughest schedule in the NFL. (USATSI)

The Raiders just can’t catch a break. Heading into their first season with true financial freedom, the Raiders will meet stiff opposition. General manager Reggie McKenzie must have a stellar offseason to compete against the NFL’s toughest schedule in 2014. Even if McKenzie’s performs well a strong record will be challenging to attain.

Raiders opponents have a .578 winning percentage due to the unfortunate task of facing the NFC West and their own division in the same year. The NFC West includes the league's two best teams in San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks and the resurgent Arizona Cardinals, who had a combined 35 wins between them.

It doesn’t get much easier in the AFC West, which features half the conference’s playoff teams in 2013. The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers all have established quarterbacks and bright futures ahead.

[RELATED: Raiders veteran QB search: Josh Freeman]

Given that and the fact the entire division plays the NFC West, it’s no surprise that the entire AFC West ranks in the top 10 in terms of strength of schedule.

The Raiders are in worse shape due to a matchup against the AFC runner-up New England Patriots, who went 12-4 last season. The Raiders also play the Houston Texans, who went 2-14 in 2014 but are solid quarterback play and some injury luck away from being a playoff contender next season.

The Raiders opponents were worked out months ago. In addition to the aforementioned teams, the Raiders also play the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns on the road and the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills at home.

[BAIR: Is Michael Sam a fit for trailblazing Raiders?]

Exact times and dates will be released by the NFL in April.

NFL strength of schedule in 2014
Rank. Team – Opp. Win Pct.
1. Oakland Raiders -- .578
2. Denver Broncos -- .570
3. St. Louis Rams --.564
4. San Diego Chargers -- .563
4. San Francisco 49ers -- .563
6. Seattle Seahawks -- .561
7. Kansas City Chiefs -- .559
8. Arizona Cardinals -- .547
9. New York Jets -- .520
10. New England Patriots -- .516
11. Atlanta Falcons -- .512
12. Miami Dolphins -- .508
13. Green Bay Packers -- .504
14. Buffalo Bills -- .500
15. Chicago Bears -- .496
16. Detroit Lions -- .492
17. Washington Redskins -- .490
18. Dallas Cowboys -- .488
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- .484
20. Philadelphia Eagles -- .479
21. Minnesota Vikings -- .477
22. Carolina Panthers -- .473
23. Cincinnati Bengals -- .469
23. New Orleans Saints -- .469
23. Pittsburgh Steelers -- .469
26. Cleveland Browns -- .465
26. New York Giants -- .465
28. Baltimore Ravens -- .461
29. Jacksonville Jaguars -- .453
30. Houston Texans -- .441
31. Tennessee Titans -- .438
32. Indianapolis Colts -- .430