The San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders have not met during the regular season since December of 2014 – a game the visiting 49ers lost 24-13 at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. The two teams used to play an exhibition matchup every season until 2011 when the series was canceled due to violence among the fans at games. The decision ended 11 consecutive years of the 49ers and Raiders meeting in the preseason.

With San Francisco seemingly on the upswing under head coach Kyle Shanahan and new franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the 2018 matchup between the 49ers and Raiders at Levi's Stadium was already highly anticipated among Bay Area football fans.

The Raiders, who were the Bay Area media darlings of the 2017 season and had Super Bowl hopes, finished with a 6-10 record.

The 49ers, who lost their first nine games to open the 2017 season, finished strong by winning six of their final seven and ending with the same record as Oakland. Thanks to the addition of Garoppolo, who was acquired via a trade with the New England Patriots on October 30, the 49ers are expected to be this offseason's Bay Area media darlings.

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"[Garoppolo] barely got his feet wet with the offense, and with the coach, and he was still so good," NFL Network's Kyle Brandt recently said on the "No Huddle" podcast. "Shanahan is still fitting in. They'll get better players in the draft. There's nowhere to go but up.

"Everything right that he did at the end of the season, it was just crazy. If he just came in and looked okay and maybe won a couple of games, I think you guys would take that, you know? But instead, it was like he became the story of the league. So yes, don't pump the brakes (on the 49ers hype train). Hit the gas."

The Raiders officially named Jon Gruden as their new head coach via a press conference held on Tuesday in front of over 150 members of the media and 47 alumni – including former 49ers and Raiders wide receiver Jerry Rice. Gruden reportedly received a 10-year, $100 million contract to leave the comfort of his ESPN job and rejoin the team that traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002, where he won a Super Bowl against the Raiders in his first season.

Gruden also has a link to the 49ers. He served as an offensive assistant to head coach George Seifert in 1990. On the other side, 49ers general manager John Lynch played for Gruden in Tampa Bay and was part of the Super Bowl XXXVII championship team.

The 2018 matchup will feature a quarterback battle between Garoppolo and Derek Carr. It is a matchup worthy of a prime time spot with the 49ers expected to see more national exposure next season thanks to the hype that is likely to build as the offseason progresses. The game could also be the final matchup between the two teams before the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas.

Shanahan versus Gruden and Garoppolo versus Carr will likely be touted by the media leading up to the matchup – whenever it takes place. Dates and times for the 2018 season will be released in April.