The 2019 NFL schedule release is right around the corner, and we already know a few things about the Raiders' path to the playoffs.
First of all, it won't be easy.
With games against NFC North and AFC South teams, the Raiders will have to conquer two of the NFL's best divisions while also facing the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos twice as usual.
After going 4-12 a season ago, it seems brutal for the Silver and Black to have such a difficult schedule, and yet, according to multiple projections, the Raiders will have one of, if not the most difficult schedule in 2019.
Here's ESPN writer Mike Clay's projection:
Well, that's not great. But it's just one projection, right?
Unfortunately, Warren Sharp paints a similarly bleak picture for Jon Gruden's team.
It seems a little unfair that the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, while the Raiders must run the gauntlet in order to return to the playoffs. But I guess that's the reward for playing in the AFC East.
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The Raiders made substantial improvements to their offense in free agency and with the trade of Antonio Brown, but they'll need to nail what could be a franchise-defining draft if they plan on making a leap in Year 2 under Gruden.
Brice Butler is hoping his NFL career comes full circle.
Selected by the Raiders in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Butler spent two seasons in Oakland before they traded him to Dallas.
Now, after bouncing from the Cowboys to the Miami Dolphins, Butler is hoping to make a return to the Raiders.
NFL Network's Jane Slater reported Friday that Butler told her he worked out for the Raiders ahead of their Week 3 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.
Butler appeared in eight games between the Cowboys and Dolphins last season, and he caught six passes for 60 yards and one touchdown.
In his two seasons with the Raiders, Butler caught 30 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns.
The Raiders were expecting to have a deep wide receivers group, but they released Antonio Brown on the eve of the regular season. That forced offseason acquisition Tyrell Williams to slide into the No. 1 spot.
And while Williams has produced over the first two games, the rest of the group hasn't. Aside from Williams' 11 receptions and tight end Darren Waller's 13 catches, no other Raiders receiver has more than six (rookie Hunter Renfrow).
Ryan Grant and Dwayne Harris have combined for five receptions.
[RELATED: Brown already receiving interest from teams]
So bringing back a veteran like Butler might not be the worst idea in the world for the Raiders.
But if coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are already working out free agents, it tells you they are concerned about the group they have.
Who doesn’t love an anniversary?
As the NFL celebrates 100 years of existence, the league has released its list of the top 100 plays from its first century.
The Oakland Raiders are involved in eight of the plays on the list, including seven of them that made it into the top 30.
Most of the Raiders’ appearances in the countdown are positive plays for the team, but several -- including the No. 1 play in NFL history -- might leave some nostalgic fans in a somber mood
You can see each clip below, with the exception of No. 61, featuring Hall of Fame defensive back Willie Brown.
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Maybe the 2019 version of the Raiders can be inspired by all of this past success, as they prepare to face off with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.