What these two games will tell us is whether or not the Raiders are ready to compete with the big dogs.
The past few seasons, the Raiders have had horrible games against the NFL’s elite teams.
Last year's game against the Steelers is a prime example. The Raiders were shellacked in that game, 35-3.
And you also have to take into account that last season you never knew what Raiders team would show up—the improved version, or the lackadaisical version.
The improved Raiders showed up for every divisional game—hence the perfect record against the AFC West.
In the Steelers game I’m not sure if it was the Raiders being unmotivated, or the Steelers just having a much better team that resulted in the lopsided score.
Hopefully the changes in the Raiders coaching staff will help to ensure the team comes to play football every game during the 2011 season.
The 2011 Raiders schedule has some very challenging but winnable games for the team—if the improved Raiders show up every week.
Like last season, I will have a week-by-week rundown and prediction for you when the season opener gets closer. To go into an in-depth analysis when you don’t know for sure who will be on the roster would be premature.
But looking at the schedule, it looks to be a challenging and interesting 2011 NFL campaign.