Top Three 2012 Oakland Raiders Must Attend Home Games

K.C. Dermody@@kcdermodyCorrespondent IJune 30, 2012

Top Three 2012 Oakland Raiders Must Attend Home Games

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    The Oakland Raiders 2012 season begins in just 73 days. A new era in Raiders football will soon be underway, and with Reggie McKenzie as general manager and Dennis Allen as the new head coach, it truly feels like a positive change is in the air.

    Many feel the Raiders will be on top of the AFC West by the end of the season, and there is no doubt that there is a lot to look forward to this year.

    Many fans living outside of the Bay Area are making plans and travel arrangements to be in Oakland for as many games as possible. If it isn't feasible to attend every single one, here is a look at the top three must-attend home games.

Oakland Raiders Season Opener September 10 Against the San Diego Chargers

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    The Raiders season opener kicks off at home this year on Monday night against the San Diego Chargers on September 10, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. PDT.

    I already feel like we have a lot riding on this game, with the revenge factor coming into play and the anticipation that's been building up for months.

    The Raiders lost to the Chargers on New Year's Day in the last game of the 2011 season, ending their playoff hopes and unfortunately sending the Denver Broncos to the playoffs where they failed miserably.

    Oakland solidly defeated San Diego when they met last November, and I have faith that the Raiders will come through in their first game in much the same way.

    With this battle televised on Monday Night Football, the Chargers will crumble under pressure and Raider Nation will have a lot to cheer about from the Black Hole. 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders September 23

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers will pay a visit to Coliseum on Sunday, September 23 at 1:15 p.m. PDT.

    The bitter rivalry between these two teams has gone on nearly 40 years, beginning in 1973 at the AFC Divisional Playoff game. The Silver and Black took the victory that day with Kenny Stabler leading the way to a 33-14 win and a trip to the Super Bowl.

    This could be a nail-biter, with the Raiders on their way back, and the Steelers possibly heading in reverse. There is little doubt that this is one of the toughest games on the schedule, and no matter what happens, fans will be treated a great game and some awesome old-school football. 

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders December 6

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    The game between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, December 6 at 5:20 p.m PST, will likely sell out quickly.

    It's one of the most anticipated games of the season, and a definite not-to-be-missed battle. With Peyton Manning at the helm for Denver, all eyes will be on their quarterback to see if he is the Super Bowl MVP he used to be. 

    With Dennis Allen being a former defensive coordinator out in Denver, his inside information could be a big help, along with having the former Indianapolis Colts linebacker, Philip Wheeler, on our side this year. While Denver is the team I especially loathe, I look forward to watching the Raiders stomp all over them and get the victory they should have had last November. 

Other Oakland Home Games

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    While the top three games, in my opinion, will be against San Diego, Pittsburgh ad Denver, here is a look at some of the other home games. 

    On Sunday, December 16 at 1:15 p.m. PST, the Kansas City Chiefs will return to Oakland. This should be another great game to attend. Last November, when the Chiefs came to the Coliseum, the Raiders had just lost their quarterback, Jason Campbell, and that week they lost Darren McFadden to a season-ending foot injury as well.

    Let's hope for much better luck this year. With Stanford Routt becoming a member of the Chiefs, perhaps we'll see more penalties on their side.

    Other home games include the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 21, the Tampa Bay Bucs on November 4, the New Orleans Saints on November 18, and the Cleveland Browns on December 2.

    Just win, baby!