Monday Night Football Preview
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
When: 10:20 PM ET, Monday, September 9, 2019
Where: RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland, California
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
OAKLAND – The Oakland Raiders have finally stopped waffling when it comes to deciding what to do with disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown. The Raiders released Brown and his 686 receptions and 9,145 yards since 2013 – the most in NFL history for a six-year period – two days prior to Monday night’s season opener against the visiting Broncos, and Brown immediately signed with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
It appears the Raiders were going to suspend Brown before he delivered an emotional apology to teammates Friday, when the club changed course and said he would play in the opener. But on Saturday Brown posted “release me” on Instagram and Oakland complied after an tumultuous training camp that saw him suffer frostbite on his feet during a cryotherapy treatment, refuse to wear a new helmet even though the NFL mandated that all players must use a newer, approved model and have a heated exchange with first-year general manager Mike Mayock.
The Raiders, who will move to Las Vegas after this season, and the Broncos are projected to battle for last place in the AFC West as the Joe Flacco era begins in Denver. “Listen, I feel like I’ve got a lot left in the tank and I feel like I can do a lot more than what I’ve really shown over the course of my 11-year career,” Flacco told reporters. “So, I’m excited that I’m going to have the opportunity here to do that.”
TV: 10:20 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Broncos -2. O/U: 42.5
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (2018: 6-10, THIRD IN AFC WEST): Flacco, who lost his job in Baltimore last season to Lamar Jackson, needs 1,755 passing yards to reach 40,000 in his career. Running back Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 1,037 yards as an undrafted rookie last season, is completely healed from a broken wrist that forced him to miss the final game of 2018. Denver’s defense boasts a pair of powerful pass rushers in Von Miller (14.5 sacks last season, 98 career) and Bradley Chubb (12 as a rookie in 2018), and top cornerback Chris Harris – the only player in the league with multiple interceptions over the last seven seasons.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (2018: 4-12, LAST IN AFC WEST): Without Brown and his NFL-most 74 touchdowns since entering the league in 2010, Tyrell Williams will likely emerge as the marquee wideout as he makes his club debut after catching 153 passes and scoring 16 touchdowns over the last three seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. Oakland selected running back Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick and hope the former Alabama star can improve a ground game that was 25th in the league in each of the last two seasons while taking pressure off quarterback Derek Carr. Tahir Whitehead is one of seven linebackers in the league with five or more interceptions (five) and 30 or more tackles for loss (32) since 2014.
- The Broncos have won 499 games – playoffs included – and seven straight season openers, which is the NFL’s longest active streak. Denver also owns the league’s highest Week 1 winning percentage at .672 (39-19-1).
- The Raiders yielded an NFL-most 29.2 points per game last season.
- Oakland leads the series 64-53-2. The home team has won the last six meetings.