Raiders, 49ers await National Football League schedule release Thursday night


It's the beginning of the end for the Raiders in Oakland.

The oddsmakers in Las Vegas are certainly taking notice.

Steelers at Texans, week 16, December 25: A Christmas Day treat in Houston will have a pair of playoff hopefuls and two of the NFL's stingiest defenses. A contending team and the possible addition of local favorite Marshawn Lynch would help. They will have nine days off before visiting Houston on August 19 (8 p.m.), then will prepare on a short week for a trip to Detroit on August 25 (7:30 p.m.).

The 49ers might not be able to pry franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins from the Redskins until next offseason for that.

The Atlanta Falcons, beaten by New England in the Super Bowl in February, will have to wait until Week 7 for a shot at revenge when they visit the Patriots on October 22.

As if that wasn't enough of a ball-buster, the Pittsburgh game comes on a short week, as the Patriots will play Miami on a Monday night in Week 14. But these teams should be contenders again, and the outcome should be significant for both.

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Cowboys at Falcons, Nov. 12 at 3:25 p.m. The evening game features the Chargers visiting the Cowboys 9.30pm. They finished 1-2 in the NFC East in 2016.

Seven of those teams (Patriots and Dolphins twice) qualified for the playoffs past year. November 12 8:30 p.m. Now, they'll have a chance to ease themselves back into things before facing up to the biggest disappointment of their professional lives.

The Raiders have the fourth-toughest strength of schedule. The Legion of Boom may be losing some of its punch, but the Seahawks are a different team at home and there nearly always seems to be some sort of controversy when Seattle get a prime-time home game.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17, vs. Dallas (Sunday Night Football), 5:30 p.m. (NBC) Comment: Best matchup of the year for fans in Oakland coming in primetime.

A very good game even without the subplots.