A Closer Look at the Raiders 2015 Preseason

The NFL announced the 2015 preseason opponents and part of the preseason schedule Thursday, which includes nationally televised games. The Raiders slate includes difficult match-ups and some familiar faces.

The Oakland Raiders will kick off the 2015 campaign with a preseason match-up against the St. Louis Rams at O.co Coliseum in Oakland. This game will mark the 18th preseason match-up between these two franchises. The Raiders lead the all-time preseason series 11-7.

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The Raiders defeated the Rams 20-7 in a 1971 preseason game at the University of California - Berkeley. Raiders Archives.

The Raiders and the Rams first met in the preseason in 1970. The series features two overtime games (both won by the Rams), two games played at the University of California – Berkeley (both won by the Raiders). The longest winning streak in the series is three games – Rams 1978, 1979 and 1992 – Raiders 2003, 2004, 2007.

This game will mark the debut of new Rams QB Nick Foles. St. Louis traded QB Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for Foles in March. Former Raiders T Joe Barksdale is currently on the Rams roster. Former Raiders assistant coaches Mike Waufle and John Fassel are on the Rams' coaching staff.

The Raiders travel to Minnesota for the second year in a row in the preseason and will play at the University of Minnesota's picturesque TCF Bank Stadium. New Raiders QB Christian Ponder will return to face the team that drafted him. New Raiders T J'Marcus Webb also spent time with the Vikings. Former Raiders CB DeMarcus Van Dyke is currently on the Vikings roster.

New Raiders Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave was the Vikings offensive coordinator for three years. Raiders offensive line coach Mike Tice spent 14 seasons with the Vikings as a player and coach, serving his final four-plus years there as head coach after taking over as interim head coach for the final game of the 2001 campaign. He became the first Vikings player to go on to serve as head coach.

And, of course, new Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Vikings.

This will be only the sixth preseason meeting between the Raiders and the Vikings. The Vikings lead the all-time preseason series 4-1 with the Raiders lone win, 16-13, coming at the Metrodome in Minneapolis in 2006.

New Raiders Quarterbacks Coach Todd Downing has history with both St. Louis and Minnesota. Downing got his start at the NFL level with the Minnesota Vikings on current Raiders offensive line coach and former Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice's staff, where he worked as an intern and coaching assistant from 2001-02 and as a football systems analyst from 2003-04. Downing served as a defensive assistant and assistant special teams coach in St. Louis from 2006-07. In 2008, he was the Rams' assistant secondary/defensive quality control coach.

The Raiders will face the Cardinals for the 14th time in the preseason and lead the all-time series 7-6. The teams first met in the preseason in 1976 when the Cardinals were based in St. Louis. Ironically, that game was played in Phoenix. The Raiders hold the longest winning streak in the series, four, while the Cardinals have won the last three match-ups. The game will be televised on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

An interesting storyline is current Cardinals and former Raiders QB Carson Palmer. It remains to be seen if he'll be ready to play after suffering a torn ACL last season. The Raiders signed former Cardinals DT Dan Williams in March. Former Raiders T Jared Veldheer, DE Matt Shaughnessy, DT Tommy Kelly and LB LaMarr Woodley are also on the Cardinals roster. Former Raiders assistant coaches Kevin Ross and Bob Sanders are members of Arizona's coaching staff.

The Raiders will close out the preseason with the Seattle Seahawks for the 10th year in a row. The Raiders defeated the Seahawks at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, 41-31, to close out the preseason last year. QB Derek Carr's performance all but assured him the starting quarterback job for the Raiders. Carr completed 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and 3 TDs in the first half.

The Seahawks lead the all-time preseason series 9-4.

The Raiders signed former Seahawks LB and Super Bowl MVP LB Malcolm Smith in March, and hired Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr., as defensive coordinator in February. DE Benson Mayowa enters his second season with the Raiders after spending 2013 with the Seahawks. Former Raiders DE Ryan Robinson is currently on the Seahawks roster. Former Raiders coaches Tom Cable and Brian Schneider are members of the Seahawks' coaching staff.

It should be an interesting preseason slate with varied opponents that will create unique challenges for the Silver and Black as the Raiders get primed for the regular season.

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