Combine? Check. Free agency? Check. Draft? Check. OTAs? Check. Mini-camps? Check. Now comes the only true dead period on the NFL calendar - six weeks until the Raiders report to Training Camp. When I broke out the mock draft tracker in January, I said it was never too early to think Draft. Well, it's never too early to start thinking about regular season football. It might be June, but we're going to get you ready.
The Raiders open against the Cincinnati Bengals Sept. 13 in Oakland.
Black is the New Orange: Cincinnati is collecting former Raiders. Hue Jackson, Denarius Moore and Terrelle Pryor will return to O.co Coliseum in opposing team colors. Pryor appeared in a preseason game in Oakland for the Seahawks last year. Moore left in March as a free agent. Sims is back in Cincinnati after a short stint with the Raiders.
Northern Exposure: Each year, the Raiders face off against a set division in both the AFC and NFC on a rotational basis. Nothing like getting three of your four AFC North match-ups out of the way right off the bat as the Silver and Black will open the 2015 campaign with three straight games against AFC North opponents (Cincinnati, Baltimore and Cleveland).
Town Business: The Raiders are 12-1 all-time in regular season home games against Cincinnati, and are undefeated against the Bengals at O.co Coliseum (9-0).
Northern Lights: Oakland is 42-34 (.553) all-time against the AFC North, with the team's best mark coming against the Bengals (18-9).
Extra points: Former Raiders QBs Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell suited up for the Bengals in recent years. In the late 1970s, the Raiders and Bengals essentially swapped kickers in free agent deals – Jim Breech from Oakland to Cincinnati and Chris Bahr from Cincinnati to Oakland. The Raiders traded for Bengals QB Carson Palmer.
The Raiders lead the all-time series against the Bengals 18-9. The two teams will meet to open the regular season.