ALAMEDA, Calif. — Before the Raiders walk off their home field in mid-September, they may want to look around.
They won’t see it again for a while.
The franchise’s bizarre, brutal 2019 regular-season schedule was unveiled Wednesday. It will start the season with a “Monday Night Football” home game against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9. Another home game follows. Then, things turn loony, as the Raiders embark on a five-game, 48-day stretch during which they won’t play in Oakland at all.
The slate also features an NFL-high seven 10 a.m. PT starts.
In Week 2, the Raiders will host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 15. The wonky scheduling begins once the game concludes.
The team next will play at the Minnesota Vikings, at the Indianapolis Colts and versus the Chicago Bears in London. The international game counts as one of the Raiders’ eight home games. It also marks the first time they will face All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack since trading him in September and the first time NFL teams have appeared at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
After a bye week, it’s back to the road with games against the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans.
Not until Nov. 3 — Week 9 — do the Raiders return to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and face the Detroit Lions.
This is the 60th season in franchise history and possibly final one in Oakland. Barring a construction delay at the Raiders’ 65,000-seat, $1.8 billion stadium in Las Vegas, their final game in Oakland will be Dec. 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The club’s opponents already were known before Wednesday’s schedule release. And so, it was known that the Raiders had the toughest strength of schedule in 2019 based on last season’s win percentage (.539). What wasn’t known is the road to a second playoff berth in 17 years largely would be decided on the road.
Fittingly, the Raiders will conclude their season with two road games, versus the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 21 or 22 and the Denver Broncos on Dec. 29.