The Oakland Raiders begin the 2016 regular season this weekend as they take on the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 10:00 a.m. PT. Sunday's game marks the first time the team has opened on the road against an NFC opponent since 1999 when they opened up with the Packers in Green Bay. The Raiders and Saints have also never faced each other in a season opener. Coupled with next week's contest at home against the Atlanta Falcons, Oakland will open with two NFC opponents for the first time since 1999, when they opened with the Packers and Minnesota Vikings.
Date:Sunday, Sept. 11Kickoff:10:00 a.m. PTSite:Mercedes-Benz Superdome (1975)Capacity/Surface:73,208/FieldturfRegular Season:Saints lead, 6-5-1
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The Raiders wrapped up their preseason last week against the Seattle Seahawks with the team finishing 1-3. QB Derek Carr threw for 251 yards on 24-of-38 passing with two touchdowns in three preseason games. WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree displayed chemistry with Carr throughout the preseason, with Cooper catching six passes for 79 yards and one touchdown and Crabtree hauling in four passes for 83 yards. Rookie RB DeAndré Washington got a lot of work in the four games, rushing 32 times for 120 yards while also hauling in nine passes for 68 yards and one touchdown. On defense, the team posted seven sacks in the four games, with DE Khalil Mack tallying one and LB Shilique Calhoun leading the team with two.
Next week, the Raiders will stay in Oakland for the team's home opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1:25 p.m. PT. The Saints will play their first road game of the year in New York against the Giants in Week 2.
Play-by-play: Chris Myers
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DEL RIO IN OPENERS
On Sunday in New Orleans, Head Coach Jack Del Rio will lead his squad into a season opener as a head coach for the 11th time overall and second time with the Raiders. Del Rio, who was drafted as a player by the Saints in 1985 and later went on to serve as a coach for the team, owns a 5-5 overall record with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Raiders in season openers as a head coach.
Overview: In 2016 Head Coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees will embark upon their 10th season together. Since their tenure began together in 2006, the faces of the franchise over the last decade have led the Saints to three NFC South division titles including a Super Bowl XLIV victory.
Offense: The Saints' offense enters the 2016 regular season with 16-year veteran QB Drew Brees returning in command of the offense after passing for a league-leading 4,870 yards in 2015. Brees' passing yards in 2015 marked the seventh time he has surpassed the 4,500-yard barrier in a season during his career. Also returning for the Saints' pass attack is third-year man WR Brandin Cooks, who notched his first-career 1,000-yard season in 2015. Completing the Saints' trio is RB Mark Ingram, coming off a 2015 campaign where he racked up 769 rushing yards, six touchdowns and average 4.6 yards per carry.
Defense: Now in his seventh year as a member of the Saints' defensive coaching staff, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen enter shis first full season in his current position. The unit finished 2015 ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (129.8), passing yards per game allowed (284.0) and total yards per game allowed (413.8). Hoping to imporve on those numbers is premier pass rusher DE Cameron Jordan, who returns for his sixth year after racking up 10 sacks in 2015. Complementing Jordan on the defensive line are newcomers DT Nick Fairley and DE Paul Kruger. Returning in the seconary is CB Delvin Breaux, the team's 2015 leader in interceptions (three), and former first-round draft pick S Kenny Vacarro, who tallied 136 tackles a season ago.
• Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio was originally selected by the Saints in the third round (68th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft. Del Rio spent two seasons of his 11-year playing career in the NFL with the Saints, and later joined the coaching staff for two years, serving as the assistant strength coach in 1997 and the linebackers coach in 1998.
• Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen served as the Raiders' head coach from 2012-2014.
• Saints offensive assistant Ronald Curry was drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round (235th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft and spent seven seasons as a wide receiver for the Silver and Black. During his tenure with the Raiders, Curry amassed 193 receptions, 2,347 yards and 13 touchdowns.
• Saints LB Nate Stupar was originally drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round (230th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.
• Raiders LB Daren Bates and Saints DT Nick Fairley reunited after their college days at Auburn, spending one season together with the St. Louis Rams in 2015 before departing to their current teams.
• Raiders tight ends coach Bobby Johnson (assistant offensive line) and Saints quarterback coach Joe Lombardi (offensive coordinator) spent one season together with the Detroit Lions in 2014.
• Raiders CB Sean Smith and Saints Assistant Head Coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell (coaching intern/tight ends coach) were both a part of the Dolphins from 2010-2012.
• Raiders G Vadal Alexander spent his college career at LSU from 2012-2015. Alexander was a four-year starter for the Tigers' offensive line and earned All-American Second-Team honors and ALL-SEC FirstTeam honors in his senior campaign.
• Raiders LB Daren Bates and Saints DT Nick Fairley spent their freshman and sophomore seasons together at Auburn, winning the BCS National Championship Championship in the 2010 season.
• Saints RB Daniel Lasco was selected in the seventh round (237th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft after playing four years at Cal. Lasco ranks 10th on Cal's all-time list with 18 rushing touchdowns.
• Saints TE Coby Fleener attended Stanford University from 2007- 2011. Fleener left Stanford as one of the most productive tight ends in school history, recording 96 receptions for 1,543 yards and hauling in 18 touchdowns. His 18 touchdowns rank first all-time among Stanford tight ends.
A look back at past matchups between the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints.
• Saints DE Cameron Jordan attended Cal from 2007-2010, playing in 50-of-51 possible games while making 32 starts. He earned firstteam All-Pac-10 honors as a senior and finished his career with 175 tackles and added 16.5 sacks.
• Saints T Andrus Peat appeared in 40 contests with 27 starts at left tackle in his three years at Stanford (2012-14), earning All-Pac 12 First-Team honors as a junior in 2014 before being selected by New Orleans in the first round (13th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.
• Raiders DT Justin Ellis grew up in Monroe, La., and stayed in his home state to play four years of college football at Louisiana Tech University (2009-2013).
• Raiders RB Jalen Richard, a native of Louisiana, played football at Peabody Magnet High School in Alexandria, La., before departing to play college football at Southern Mississippi.