The Oakland Raiders will play in their home opener this weekend as they host the Atlanta Falcons at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1:25 p.m. PT. Coupled with last week's victory on the road at New Orleans, Oakland opens the year with two NFC opponents for the first time since 1999, when they opened with the Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Sunday's game will mark the Falcons' first trip to Oakland since 2008 and the first matchup between the two teams since they met in 2012 in Atlanta. Last week, the Raiders pulled out a comefrom-behind victory against the Saints, while the Falcons fell at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Here is the Game Preview, presented by 95.7 The GAME.
Date:Sunday, Sept. 18Kickoff:1:25 p.m. PTSite:Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (1966)Capacity/Surface:56,055/Overseeded BermudaRegular Season:Raiders lead, 7-6
The Raiders opened their 2016 season in dramatic fashion last week in New Orleans, edging the Saints by a final of 35-34. After scoring a touchdown to pull within one point with 47 seconds left, Head Coach Jack Del Rio decided to go for the two-point conversion and WR Michael Crabtree hauled in the pass from QB Derek Carr to seal the Raiders victory. Carr led the offense to four touchdown drives on the day, throwing for 319 yards on 24-of-38 passing with one touchdown for a 98.5 quarterback rating. WR Amari Cooper led the team with 137 receiving yards on six receptions and WR Seth Roberts hauled in the third game-winning reception of his young career. RB Jalen Richard led the ground attack with a game-high 84 yards. RB Latavius Murray, FB/RB Jamize Olawale and Richard all tallied rushing touchdowns. On defense, LB Bruce Irvin recorded his first sack as a Raider, forcing a fumble in the process that was recovered by DL Jihad Ward to set up a field goal. S Reggie Nelson paced the defensive unit with nine tackles.
After Sunday's game, the Raiders will head back on the road for two games, traveling to Tennessee to play the Titans and Baltimore for a matchup with the Ravens. The Falcons will play another road game against the Saints next week.
Play-by-play: Kevin Harlan
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WEEK 1 NOTABLES
Below are some key notes from last Sunday's Week 1 35-34 victory over the Saints in New Orleans:
• WR Michael Crabtree hauled in the game-winning two-point conversion with 47 seconds remaining in the game, making the Raiders the fourth team to score the game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the final minute of the fourth quarter and the first to do so in a season opener.
• The Raiders' come-from-behind victory marked the first time since Sept. 10, 2000 the team overcame a 14-or-more-point deficit on the road.
• WR Amari Cooper finished the game with 137 receiving yards, the second highest total by a Raider in a season opener since 1970 (Tim Brown posted 158 yards on Aug. 31, 1997 at the Tennessee Oilers).
• On rookie RB Jalen Richard's first career carry, he rushed 75 yards for a touchdown. With his 75-yard touchdown, Richard became just the fourth player ever to record a 75-or-more-yard rushing touchdown in his NFL debut, joining Oran Pape (1930), Alan Ameche (1955) and Ottis Anderson (1979).
Overview: Atlanta is led by Head Coach Dan Quinn, now entering his second season in charge of the Falcons. In 2015, the Falcons got off to a 5-0 start, making Quinn the first coach in franchise history to begin his career with five straight wins, and finished the year with an 8-8 record. The Falcons enter Sunday's game with an 0-1 record following a 24-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener.
Offense: QB Matt Ryan enters his ninth NFL season coming off a year in which he threw for 4,591 yards on 407-of-614 passing with 21 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and an 89.0 passer rating, becoming one of four quarterbacks to eclipse 4,000 yards in each of the last five seasons. In Week 1, Ryan posted a 112.6 passer rating by completing 27-of-39 passes for 334 yards with two touchdowns. Newcomer WR Mohamed Sanu hauled in a touchdown in his first game with the Falcons while recording 80 yards on five catches. Sixth-year veteran WR Julio Jones had four catches for 66 yards (16.5 avg.) with a 25-yard touchdown last week. Atlanta's lead back RB Devonta Freeman is in his third year with the Falcons and tied for the league lead with 11 rushing touchdowns last year.
Defense: In 2015, the Falcons' first year with defensive coordinator Richard Smith, Atlanta saw its defense improve from 32nd in total defense to 16th. S Ricardo Allen led the team with three interceptions a season ago while CB Desmond Trufant earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. Allen and S Kemal Ishmael led the team with seven total tackles each in last week's opener against the Buccaneers.
• Raiders defensive quality control coach Travis Smith's father, Richard Smith, is the Falcons' defensive coordinator.
• Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave served as the quarterbacks coach with the Falcons from 2006-10, helping QB Matt Ryan's development. During Ryan's first year in the league, he won Associated Press and Sporting News NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
• Prior to coming to Oakland, Raiders offensive line coach Mike Tice spent the 2014 season in Atlanta where he held the same role.
• Falcons offensive line coach Chris Morgan began his NFL coaching career with the Raiders as the assistant line coach from 2009-10.
• Falcons QB Matt Schaub spent the 2014 season in Oakland, seeing action in 11 games with the team.
• Falcons LB Philip Wheeler spent the 2012 season with the Raiders where he started all 16 games, tallying 109 total tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
• Prior to joining their respective teams this past offseason, Raiders S Reggie Nelson and Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu spent four years (2012- 15) with the Cincinnati Bengals.
• Raiders WR Michael Crabtree and Falcons S Dashon Goldson spent four seasons together with San Francisco from 2009-12, where the two helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl XLVII.
• Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. worked with Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn for three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.
• Before joining the Falcons, assistant offensive line coach Keith Carter spent the 2014 season at San Jose State working with the offensive line/ run game.
• Raiders offensive assistant Sam Anno and Falcons assistant offensive line coach Keith Carter worked together for three years at the University of San Diego from 2009-11.
• Raiders T Menelik Watson was part of a line that blocked for Falcons RB Devonta Freeman at Florida State in 2012, when Freeman rushed for 660 yards on 111 carries with eight touchdowns as a sophomore.
• Falcons S Kemal Ishmael and Raiders RB Latavius Murray played together for four years at UCF from 2009-12.
• Falcons C Alex Mack was a two-time All-American and a four-time league academic honor roll honoree at Cal, earning the Draddy Trophy as a senior, given to college football's top scholar-athlete.
• Falcons TE Levine Toilolo attended Stanford from 2009-2012, recording 50 receptions for 763 yards (15.3 avg.) with 10 touchdowns.
• Raiders linebackers coach Sal Sunseri coached Falcons LB Courtney Upshaw for three years (2009-11) at Alabama where the two helped the Crimson Tide win the BCS National Championship in 2011.
• Falcons G Wes Schweitzer played in 38 games for San Jose State, including 37 straight between 2013 and 2015.
• Raiders LB Bruce Irvin is a native of Atlanta, Ga., where attended Stockbridge High School, playing three games as a wide receiver during his sophomore year before transferring to Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga.
• Falcons G Andy Levitre is a native of Santa Cruz, Calif., where he played at San Lorenzo Valley High School.
• Falcons TE Austin Hooper, a San Mateo, Calif., native, led De La Salle to three straight CIF Open Division state titles from 2010-12. Hooper went on to play in two seasons at Stanford, catching 74 passes for 937 yards and eight touchdowns.
• Falcons RB Terron Ward is a native of Antioch, Calif., and attended De La Salle High School.