Raiders hope to avoid January freeze

The NFL schedule makers did not leave the Oakland Raiders out in the cold and they hope it remains that way into the AFC playoffs.

 

The NFL schedule makers did not leave the Oakland Raiders out in the cold and they hope it remains that way into the AFC playoffs.

            The Raiders, who have the conference's best record, begin the last three games of their regular season slate at Miami Sunday followed by home games against Denver and Kansas City.

            Homefield advantage for Oakland is important but not for the reason most folks think. Parity in the NFL has made it less meaningful in the postseason. The last time both No. 1 seeds made it to the Super Bowl was 1993 when Dallas and Buffalo squared off in Super Bowl XXVIII. In fact, the home team has won just nine of the last 16 conference title games.

            The Raiders need homefield to avoid a game in the artic belt come January. Oakland lost three straight to end last season, costing it a first-round bye and a home game in the divisional round. Oakland defeated the New York Jets 38-24 before losing to New England 16-13 in overtime on a snowy night in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

            Oakland's regular season road games at cold weather venues came in the first two months of the season – Pittsburgh and Buffalo. The Raiders, however, catch a break with Sunday's game at Miami for a different reason – no excruciating heat and humidity like a September game. The Sunday forecast in Miami is partly cloudy and 69 degrees.

            "Obviously it's not going to be hot," Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon said. "You just put that aside. It's going to be a tough game against a good defensive football team."

 

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


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