It’s still 0-0 time in the NFL, with every fan of every team able to conjure hope for the coming season, plausible or otherwise. Raiders fans, already buoyed by an aggressive pursuit of veteran free agents, got more reason for hope on Tuesday from one of the new arrivals.
“I can definitely see [us] as a playoff team,” linebacker LaMarr Woodley told 95.7 The Game on Tuesday. “Last year going back and watching some film on the Raiders, there were a lot of opportunities here where they just didn’t close it out. Some games good in the first half; they just didn’t close it out at the end of the game. So now we just have to learn how to close out games and it’ll be more wins than losses.”
The Raiders closed it out against Woodley’s old team, the Steelers. Otherwise, the Raiders had plenty of struggles.
This year’s potential struggles become a lot more tangible on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET. Though the Raiders’ opponents for 2014 have been known since the moment the 2013 regular season ended, the specific list of weeks and dates and times comes soon.
Perhaps that’s when Raiders players and fans will realize that, in 2014, the Raiders play three games against last year’s Super Bowl teams. Five games against the four conference finalists. Nine games against teams that made the playoffs in 2013.
And 12 games against teams with non-losing records a season ago.
That’s the end result of facing the Broncos twice, the Chiefs twice, the Chargers twice, the Seahawks, the 49ers, the Patriots, the Cardinals, the Rams, the Jets, the Bills, the Rams, the Dolphins, and the Browns.
Yes, every year is different. For the Raiders, every year since 2003 has been the same. This year’s schedule suggests it won’t be easy to break the cycle.