Although we've known the Raiders' opponents since the end of last season, the full playing schedule was released yesterday. The Raiders schedule features several intriguing match-ups and one Prime-Time game. As you start weaving your way through it, it reads more like "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."
The Raiders open the regular season with back-to-back home games against two 2014 playoff teams as the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens come to town. Former Raiders head coach and current Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, and former Raiders WR Denarius Moore and DT Pat Sims, return to Oakland in Week 1.
Take a look at the Raiders 2015 schedule with these historic photos.
Former Denver Broncos head coach John Fox is now the man in charge in Chicago. He takes the reins from Marc Trestman, who at one time served as offensive coordinator for the Raiders. Fox was an assistant coach with the Raiders from 1994-95. The Raiders will head to the Windy City for a regular season game against the Bears for the first time since 2003.
The Raiders face the Jets once again, this time in Oakland. Former Denver Broncos WR Eric Decker will see the Raiders for the second time as a Jet but for the first time as a Jet in Oakland. This marks the 12th meeting between the Raiders and the Jets since 1999.
The Steelers are on the Raiders radar again. The Silver and Black and black and gold have split the last eight meetings since 2000. Former Raiders first round draft pick WR Darrius Heyward-Bey has been with Pittsburgh the last two years, and former Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski, safety Mike Mitchell and strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont are also with the Steelers.
The Raiders schedule also features two Super Bowl rematches – Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings and Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers. The Raiders defeated the Vikings 32-14 in Super Bowl XI and lost to the Packers 33-14 in Super Bowl II. Raiders QB Christian Ponder was originally drafted by the Vikings, T J'Marcus Webb and Head Coach Jack Del Rio played for the Vikings, and Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice played for and served as head coach of the Vikings. TE Brian Leonhardt went to Bemidji State in Minnesota. The first season of the popular FX TV series Fargo was set in Bemidji.
The Raiders travel to Nashville Thanksgiving weekend. Former Raiders WR Jacoby Ford signed with the Titans earlier this offseason. Former Kansas City Chiefs RB Dexter McCluster, a veteran of several match-ups with the Silver and Black, is now with Tennessee. C Brian Schwenke plays for Tennessee while DT Kona Schwenke is currently on the Raiders roster – no relation. Former Raiders special teams coach Steve Hoffman serves as assistant special teams coach for the Titans. Former Steelers coaches Ken Wisenhunt and Dick LeBeau are with the Titans - Wisenhunt is head coach and LeBeau is the new defensive coordinator. Both are veterans of the Raiders/Steelers rivalry.
As always, the Raiders AFC West match-ups are critical and intriguing. The Raiders lone Prime-Time game is a Christmas Eve tilt with the Chargers. This game will fall on the 38th anniversary of the Ghost to the Post game – a Raiders double-overtime win over the Baltimore Colts in the 1977 playoffs.