Bay Area

5 Raiders must-watch games in 2013

It’s time to plan Sundays off with your boss. The NFL regular season is less than two months away, and the last thing you’d want is a long 9-to-5 shift while the action is pouring in.

If you have a limited number of vacation days, here’s a list of the most exciting Oakland Raiders games to see.  

(Also regularly wash your hands and get a good night’s sleep, because a sick leave is too valuable to waste in case of a real, football emergency.)

Week 1 (September 8) at Indianapolis Colts

You’d obviously be a fool to not watch the regular season opener!

The Raiders start their year on the road against a formidable foe in the Colts. Andrew Luck will likely torch the Oakland secondary, but the spotlight will be on Darrius Heyward-Bey, who is looking to prove his offseason release from the Raiders was a costly mistake. Colts coach Chuck Pagano knows this, so expect at least 10 targets the wide receiver’s way.

Week 2 (September 15) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes, the Jaguars aren’t a marquee ticket, but this is the Raiders’ home opener, and a winnable contest. The quarterback duel in Matt Flynn and Blaine Gabbert could be as intense as the 2012 U.S. presidential election, and Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew should be running wild against two retooling defenses. 300 combined rushing yards between the backs is a probable given.

Week 5 (October 6) vs. San Diego Chargers

The Raiders’ other California archnemesis, the Chargers, are coming to town and looking to tussle.

The matchup will pit two former Denver Broncos coordinators-turned-head-coaches against each other in Dennis Allen and Mike McCoy. Allen and McCoy worked magic (on defense and offense respectively) with the Tim Tebow-led squad in 2011, so they may reuse their most clever tricks in the first of what is hopefully a long AFC West coaching rivalry.

Week 13 (November 28) at Dallas Cowboys

The Silver and Black and America’s Team play every preseason but are unfortunately separated by divisions and conferences, so their regular season match every four years should be relished by fans everywhere. If this game reflects the Oakland or Dallas teams we have come to love in the past several seasons, there will be no shortage of sacks, punts, fumbles and interceptions, which is great if you love defensive standoffs.

Week 17 (December 29) vs. Denver Broncos

Damn those donkeys! If the NFL season goes as expected, Denver will be locking up the division and Oakland will be looking ahead to 2014 when the last week rolls around. But the Raiders may also have a chance to play spoiler.

If not, Brock Osweiler should start for the Broncos, and since he is viewed as the club’s long-term answer at signal caller, Oakland’s defense can serve him a beatdown he will never forget (unless he sustains a concussion, of course).

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and He also owns the Rui sympathizes with every West Coast team.

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