2005 Raider schedule subplots

Every season an NFL team's schedule has its compelling angles, subplots and storylines. It's never too early to think of little things that stand out about each opponent. The Oakland Raiders have a few such games – none the least of which are three primetime games thanks in large part to the acquisition of wide receiver Randy Moss.

No, we won't examine the nonsense idea of the difficulty the Oakland Raiders schedule. In today's topsy-turvy NFL, the previous season's record means absolutely zilch the following season. The San Diego Chargers may have won the AFC West last year for all we know they could be an 8-8 disappointment in 2003. The Miami Dolphins might have gone 4-12 last season but who are we to say they won't go 8-8 this season.

Here's a closer look at the 2005 subplots:

Thursday, September 8, at New England: Four words to remember – Walt Coleman and Tuck Rule. Raider conspiracy theorists unite on national TV.

Sunday, September 18, vs. Kansas City: Two straight national TV games, the second against their most bitter rival in a photo finish with the Denver Broncos.

Sunday, September 25, at Philadelphia: Current Raider defensive end Derrick Burgess returns to his former address.

Sunday, October 2, vs. Dallas: Two franchises who are the confluence of extremes for fans – you either really love them or really hate them.

Sunday, October 16, vs. San Diego: Another true test of how much, or how little, the Raider defense has improved.

Sunday, October 23, vs. Buffalo: Oakland's only great defensive effort came against the Bills last season. Buffalo, however, figures to have a quarterback without his feet nailed to the ground now that Drew Bledsoe is gone.

Sunday, October 30, at Tennessee: Both offenses combined for 75 points. Will the same trend continue? Neither defense appears to be significantly better than last year.

Sunday, November 6, vs. Kansas City: Will somebody on the Raiders please cover a kickoff?

Sunday, November 13, vs. Denver: Three sure things in life: Death, taxes and 1,000-yard rushers in Denver. Who is next?

Sunday, November 20, vs. Washington: Beware of Oakland head coach Norv Turner delivering "read between the lines" statements. He'd love nothing more than to gouge Washington owner Daniel Snyder.

Sunday, November 27, vs. Miami: Will Nick Saban become the latest successful college head coach who flops in the NFL?

Sunday, December 4, at San Diego: Memo to Raider defenders covering the pass – somebody please cover Antonio Gates.

Sunday, December 11, at New York Jets: Oakland faces former teammate Doug Jolley. On the other hand, Frank Middleton is not here to provide bulletin board material for the Jets.

Sunday, December 18, vs. Cleveland: The Browns have been very underwhelming since returning to the NFL in 1999. Will Romeo Crennell be the answer as the head coach?

Saturday, December 24, at Denver: Raider conspiracy theorists unit Part I – a game on Christmas Eve in Denver.

Saturday, December 31, vs. New York Giants: Raider conspiracy theorists unit Part II. At least, they don't have to travel. Plus, the Black Hole never needs an excuse to get rowdy, especially New Years Eve.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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