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5 things that stand out about the Raiders’ 2024 schedule

There are always twists, turns, quirks and oddities when the NFL rolls out its regular-season schedule.

That was definitely the case for the Raiders on Wednesday. Their 17-game slate includes eight matchups with teams that made the playoffs last year, a number of meetings against some of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and a few key stretches that could define the season.

Here are five things that stand out about the Raiders’ 2024 schedule:

1. Toughest stretch

The three games before the Raiders’ bye in Week 10 are a gauntlet.

It’s easily the team’s toughest stretch, which is saying something considering it opens with back-to-back road games against the Chargers and Ravens.

The Raiders’ three games before the bye include a road game against Matthew Stafford and the Rams, a home game against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs and then a road game against Joe Burrow and the Bengals.

It’s going to be difficult to win any of them. But the Raiders likely need to emerge victorious in at least one if they want to make the playoffs next year.

2. Easiest stretch

The good news is the Raiders’ schedule lightens up at the end of the season.

Three of their final four games are at Allegiant Stadium. They host the Falcons and Jaguars in back-to-back weeks before traveling to face Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints in Week 17. The Raiders close their season at home against the Chargers.

All four of those opponents missed the playoffs last year. And Falcons, Jaguars and Chargers fans aren’t known to travel well. That means the Raiders should have plenty of support behind them in Allegiant Stadium for those games.

The schedule sets them up well to make a playoff push if they’re still in the mix by Week 15.

3. Few prime-time games

The Raiders’ “Monday Night Football” matchup with the Falcons on Dec. 16 is their lone prime-time appearance of the season right now.

The only other spotlight game on their schedule is a Black Friday showdown with the Chiefs at noon Nov. 29. They are not scheduled to play on a Thursday or Sunday night.

That represents a big falloff for the Raiders after they were featured in five prime-time games a year ago.

So what gives?

The Raiders are coming off two losing seasons and their quarterback competition between Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew doesn’t scream star power. Their only recourse is to string together some wins and make a case to the NFL to flex one of their final few games to prime-time.

4. Los Angeles matchups key

The Raiders like to say they own Los Angeles. And to an extent, they do.

Their fanbase in their former home city is as strong as ever. They can count on Raiders fans taking SoFi Stadium over whenever they travel to play the Rams or the Chargers.

But it’s one thing to have a favorable crowd. It’s another to take advantage of it.

The Raiders are 1-4 at SoFi Stadium since it opened five years ago. The one victory came without fans during the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That has to change if the Raiders want to compete this year. They need to take advantage of their favorable road games against the Chargers in Week 1 and the Rams in Week 7.

5. Las Vegas newcomers

Four Raiders opponents will make their first regular-season visit to Allegiant Stadium this year in the Panthers, Browns, Falcons and Jaguars.

The Browns are the only one with a fanbase that may take over Las Vegas like other teams have over the years.

The Panthers visit Week 3 in the Raiders’ home opener. The Browns come the following week. The Falcons and Jaguars will play in Las Vegas six days apart on Dec. 16 and 22, respectively.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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