The Oakland Raiders are going to face many tough tasks over the course of the 2012 season. Among those include executing new offensive and defensive schemes from rookie head coach Dennis Allen, and a tough three game stretch from weeks 10-12 where they will face three playoff teams from 2011 (at Baltimore, New Orleans and at Cincinnati).
However, the biggest home game of the 2012 season for the Raiders will be featured on Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network against the Denver Broncos.
On December 6th, kicking of the 14th week of the regular season, new Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning will get his first taste of how the familiar rivalry is treated in the Black Hole. Coach Allen will host the Broncos in Oakland for the first time since coming from Denver as their defensive coordinator.
The two teams will have already met in Denver in Week 4, but the Raiders will be looking for redemption of a Week 9 loss last season that saw a second half comeback from Tim Tebow.
Entering his first full season as Oakland's quarterback, Carson Palmer will team up with running back Darren McFadden for the first time. McFadden missed nine games last season to a lisfranc sprain in his foot. The Palmer-McFadden combo along with Oakland's array of talented wide receivers will be a great answer to a Manning-ledoffense.
After that Week 9 loss in 2011, it was either Oakland or Denver who sat atop the AFC West for the remainder of the season. Denver ultimately won the division by strength of wins with both teams finishing 8-8.
If both Darren McFadden and Peyton Manning are able to stay healthy this far into the season, it will not only be a game that features two division rivals, but a one that will be battled between two playoff contenders.