The NFL loves its history. The Raiders are a big part of that history, going back to the 60s and were mainstays in the playoffs for every decade from the 60s to the early 2000s. Making for a lot of matchups that have you looking back to when the two teams had a heated battle in the fight to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Naturally, the division games would all fall in there somewhere as at some point or another each has played a considerable factor in the Raiders’ standing. So, we’re going to leave those out for these purposes.
Even without the division games, there are still a great many match-ups the Raiders have this season that carry historical significance
Week 3 at Bills
Jan 20, 1991, Buffalo, NY, USA; FILE PHOTO; Buffalo Bills running back kenneth Davis (23) carries the ball against Los Angeles Raiders defenders Riki Ellison (50), Eddie Anderson (33), and Jerry Robinson (57) during the 1990 AFC Championship at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills defeated the Raiders 51-3. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
In the 90s the Bills were a juggernaut. I mean, at least until they reached the Super Bowl. They made the playoffs eight of the ten years in the decade, including four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-93. Though they may be most remembered for losing all of them, the rest of the AFC can’t really say much as they were all steamrolled each year. This includes the Los Angeles Raiders who were twice a speed bump on the Bills’ road to the big game, including the infamous 51-3 drubbing in the 1990 Conference Championship game.
Week 4 vs Steelers
Dec 29, 1974; Oakland, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Donnie Shell (310 tackles Oakland Raiders receiver Cliff Branch (21) during the 1974 AFC Championship game at Oakland Alameda Coliseum. Pittsburgh defeated Oakland 24-13. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
No non-division team has been a more classic rival for the Raiders than the Steelers. Both teams were mainstays in the postseason throughout the 70s. The two teams clashed five straight times in the playoffs from 1972-76. Three of the first four, the Steelers knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs, starting with the infamous ‘Immaculate Reception’ game in 1972. The next two times the Raiders fell to the Steelers, they would go on to win the Super Bowl.
In 1976, the Raiders would finally best the Steelers and make the Super Bowl. While you won’t see this in any ‘Greatest Super Bowl match-up’ lists, you could never tell that to Al Davis. Beating the Steelers in the playoffs *was* his Super Bowl. Thus why, after the Raiders beat the Vikings, he had 24-7 printed on the ring. That was the score by which the Raiders beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
Week 5 vs Packers
Jan 14, 1968; Miami,, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr (15) looks to throw as he is pressured by Oakland Raiders defensive end Ike Lassiter (77) during Super Bowl II at the Orange Bowl. The Packers defeated the Raiders 33-14. Mandatory Credit: Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports
A Super Bowl II rematch. Some forget that the Raiders had made the Super Bowl several years before they earned their three Lombardi Trophies. Their first coming against the man whose name is on the trophy. Following the 1967 season, the Raiders met the powerhouse Packers in Super Bowl II and lost 33-14. It would be nearly 30 years before the Packers would get back to the Super Bowl.
Week 6 vs Patriots
FOXBORO, UNITED STATES: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (C) takes a hit from Charles Woodson (R) of the Oakland Raiders on a pass attempt in the last two minutes of the game in their AFC playoff 19 January 2002 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 16-13 in overtime. AFP PHOTO/Matt CAMPBELL (Photo credit should read MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)
Expect to get utterly sick of hearing about the Tuck Rule game in the leadup to this one. They love to talk about it non-stop whenever these two teams play. That game and the fumble that was mistakenly overturned is more famous than just about anything the Patriots did in their Super Bowls. It also was the start of the Patriots dynasty.
Week 10 vs Jets
Dec 29, 1968; Flushing, NY, USA; FILE PHOTO; Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica (3) drops back to pass behind tackle Harry Schuh (79) against the New York Jets at Shea Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
Among the Raiders greatest games collection is The Heidi Game. It was an AFL game in November of 1968 in which the network opted to leave a tight game between the Raiders and Jets and switch over to the show Heidi.
It was a big matchup between Daryle Lominca and the reigning AFL Champion Raiders and the Joe Namath-led Jets. And the game went back and forth all day. Then at 7 pm sharp, with the Jets up by three points with 1:05 left…suddenly football fans were watching a small child in the Swiss Alps. What anyone not in attendance at the Coliseum missed was Lamonica finding Charlie Smith for the game-winning touchdown, followed by a fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff for another Raiders touchdown.
Perhaps lost in all this is the Raiders would meet the Jets again in the playoffs…and lose. Sad trombone.
Week 11 at Dolphins
Dec 27, 1970; Oakland, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Oakland Raiders running back Charlie Smith (23) carries the ball chased by Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Manny Fernandez (75) and John Richardson (74) during the 1970 AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Dolphins 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports
We think of the 70s as being kind of all about the Steelers and Raiders. But the Dolphins were also a powerhouse. In fact, they took down both teams on their way to consecutive Super Bowls in 1972 and 1973.
After the Steelers celebrated the big ‘Immaculate Reception’ they would go no farther as the Dolphins were on a mission to complete a perfect season. And after the Raiders beat the Steelers for the first time in the playoffs in 1973, the Dolphins made quick work of them as well. The Raiders would get the last laugh, however, beating the Dolphins in the Divisional round the next year (1974) and again in the Divisional round following the 2000 season.
Week 14 vs Vikings
Jan 9, 1977, Pasadena, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Oakland Raiders running back Clarence Davis (28) carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl. Davis rushed for 135 yards on 16 carries.The Raiders defeated the Vikings 32-14 to win their first Super Bowl championship. Mandatory Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports
A Super Bowl XI rematch. While we’re on the 70s, talking about the AFC rivals the Raiders faced, the team they took down in the actual Super Bowl must be acknowledged. The Vikings were the beating post for the three AFC powerhouse teams in the 70s. Starting in 1970, the Vikings were beaten badly in each of four Super Bowls at the hands of the Chiefs, Dolphins, Steelers, and finally the Raiders. The loss to the Raiders following the 1976 season was the last Super Bowl the Vikings ever played in.
Week 15 vs Los Angeles Chargers
Dec 4, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Helmets at the line of scrimmage as Las Vegas Raiders center Andre James (68) snaps the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
One of the greatest games I’ve ever seen, let alone live in-person was the 2021 season finale. The two teams were in basically a win or go home scenario. The only way both reach the postseason is with a tie and the Raiders decided it best to send the Chargers packing.
These two teams go way back to the original AFL days. When Al Davis was on the Chargers’ coaching staff under Sid Gillman. The Chargers would in the AFL championship in 1963 and play in three straight. But have never won a Super Bowl.
Week 16 at Kansas City Chiefs
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – OCTOBER 10: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes during the 1st half of the game a at Arrowhead Stadium on October 10, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
The Raiders haven’t really held up their end of this rivalry in recent years. And certainly not at Arrowhead. Not since Patrick Mahomes took over at quarterback. But historically this has been a bitter rivalry. The two teams even met in the playoffs back in the early AFL days, with each winning one on their way to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs were the first AFC West team to win a Super Bowl. Then the Raiders rattled off three, the Broncos did too, and as of last year, the Chiefs finally caught up to make for a three-way tie for the most Super Bowl wins in the division.
Week 18 vs Denver Broncos
Nov 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Andrew Billings (97) and defensive end Chandler Jones (55) tackle Denver Broncos running back Latavius Murray (28) in the second half at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The only rivalry these two teams have had in recent years has been the battle to stay out of the cellar. The Broncos have lost that battle the past three years, but it was just eight years ago they were Super Bowl champions while the Raiders were on a run of 13 straight years in which they were either third or fourth in the division.
It’s always been a teeter totter of sorts with these two teams. The early 2000s was the Raiders time, the late 90s the Broncos won their first two Super Bowls, early 90s the Raiders were consistently playoff teams, late 80s the Broncos made it to three straight Super Bowls (losing all three), early 80s the Raiders won their second and third Super Bowls, late 70s the Broncos were in their first Super Bowl, and before that it was all Raiders while the Broncos were a doormat.