Oakland Raiders schedule analysis

Breakdown: For the fourth time since 2006, the Oakland Raiders will open the season on "Monday Night Football" in the back end of a doubleheader. The Raiders open at the Denver Broncos. The three previous times Oakland played in this doubleheader series, the games were at home and Oakland lost all three games.

The Raiders, who are tied for the 19th most difficult 2011 schedule and have the easiest AFC West schedule, play at the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. The Raiders get two road games out of the way early against two weak teams. Plus, these could have both been cold-weather games.

Oakland’s season does toughen in its third and fourth games with home games against the New York Jets and New England Patriots. We should know a lot about the Raiders after the first quarter of the season.

In addition to the season opener, Oakland plays a prime-time game at the San Diego Chargers in a Thursday game in November.

Complaint department: Oakland’s first two games in December will be difficult. It plays at the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers in back-to-back games. That is a lot of travel down the stretch. Plus, playing at Green Bay on Dec. 11 is no treat.

No opening night in Green Bay: There was a school of thought in Oakland that the Raiders would be chosen to play at Green Bay in the annual season-opening Thursday night game that has become a traditional celebration game for the defending Super Bowl champion. The Packers will instead play New Orleans in a battle of the past two Super Bowl champions.

Raiders Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Monday, Sep. 12, at Denver, 10:15 PM

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 18, at Buffalo, 1:00 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 25, NY Jets, 4:05 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, New England, 4:15 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9, at Houston, 1:00 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16, Cleveland, 4:05 PM

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23, Kansas City, 4:05 PM

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6, Denver, 4:05 PM

Week 10: Thursday, Nov. 10, at San Diego, 8:20 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, at Minnesota, 1:00 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27, Chicago, 4:05 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4, at Miami, 1:00 PM

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11, at Green Bay, 1:00 PM

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18, Detroit, 4:05 PM

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, at Kansas City, 1:00 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, San Diego, 4:15 PM