NFL Week 1 - Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders -- A Primer

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For the first time in seven years, the Denver Broncos will open their season on Monday Night Football when they face the Oakland Raiders this week at McAfee Coliseum. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. PDT, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN as well as locally on KDVR-TV FOX 31.

The Broncos, whose 17-year streak of appearing on Monday Night Football represents the longest such streak in the NFL, look to begin the campaign with a win in their first AFC West contest of the year for the ninth consecutive season. The first part of the season is a key stretch for Denver with the club facing divisional opponents in three of the first four weeks. The Broncos play their first two games (at Oak., vs. S.D.) of the year against divisional foes for the first time in 11 seasons (1997) and only the sixth time in club history.

Denver, which finished the 2007 season with a 7-9 record before posting a 2-2 mark this preseason, faces a Raiders squad that was 4-12 last year and 1-3 in the preseason. The two clubs split the 2007 series, but the Broncos have had recent success against Oakland, posting an 8-2 record against the franchise since 2003.

In the preseason, the Broncos' offense averaged 76.9 yards on its eight touchdown drives while ranking fifth in the league in both yards per play (5.4) and points per game (22.8). Quarterback Jay Cutler led Denver to points in six of the 10 drives (5 TDs, 1 FG) he started and finished the preseason with the third-highest passer
rating (117.6) and fourth-best completion percentage (69.8) in the league (min. 40 att.). Defensively, Denver ranked seventh in the league in yards per rush allowed (3.4).

Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan owns an 11-4 career record in season openers, marking a .733 winning percentage that is the best among active NFL coaches (min. 5 openers).

PREVIOUS 5 MEETINGS

at OAKLAND 34, DENVER 20 (Dec. 2, 2007)
Denver's loss to the Raiders snaps its four-game road winning streak against Oakland and its five-game overall winning streak against the franchise... The Broncos score a touchdown on their opening drive of the game for the third time this season... Denver's 83-yard opening drive was its longest of the season... QB Jay Cutler's 58-yard pass to WR Brandon Stokley in the third quarter was the ninth 40+yard completion of his career... Stokley (102 yds.) recorded the eighth 100-yard receiving game of his career (7th regular season) and first as a Bronco... Denver forces four fumbles for the third consecutive game, and the club recovers one (LB D.J. Williams).

at DENVER 23, OAKLAND 20 OT (Sept. 16, 2007)
For the second consecutive week, Broncos K Jason Elam kicks a game-winning field goal with his 23-yarder in overtime giving Denver the victory... Elam finishes the game with three field goals, including a 20-yarder with 2:18 left in the game to tie the score at 20... Denver has an individual 100-yard rusher (Travis Henry, 128)
and 100-yard receiver (Javon Walker, 101) for the second game in a row... The Broncos outgain the Raiders 441 to 253 yards, including a 260 to 53 passing yard advantage... The 53 passing yards allowed by the Broncos marked the second-lowest total allowed by Denver in the Mike Shanahan era (1995-Pres.)... Shanahan passes Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram to move into
sole possession of 10th place in National Football League history in career wins with one team (125).

DENVER 17, at OAKLAND 13 (Nov. 12, 2006)
Denver posts its fourth consecutive road win with its victory in Oakland, marking the club's longest such streak since it won six away games in a row in 1998... Broncos QB Plummer authors his 31st career game-winning or game-tying drive in the fourth quarter and 23rd "pure" comeback against the Raiders (Denver trailed 13-7 in the fourth quarter)... Broncos FB Kyle Johnson's 1-yard touchdown grab early in the fourth quarter proves to be the game-winning score... TE Stephen Alexander totals the most catches (6) by a Denver tight end in a game since the 2005 season opener (Jeb Putzier, 7 rec.)... Denver limits the Raiders to a 1.8-yard rushing average (26 att. for 46 yds.).

at DENVER 13, OAKLAND 3 (Oct. 15, 2006)
The Broncos extend their regular-season home winning streak to 13 games with their win against Oakland... Broncos K Jason Elam moves into 10th all-time in NFL history in career points scored (1,589) with seven (2 FG, 1 PAT) against the Raiders, passing Al Del Greco... Denver limits the Raiders to 20 plays in plus territory (past 50-yard line) for a net gain of 31 yards... Denver allows only one third-down conversion in the second half for the fifth consecutive game... Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil (2 sacks) posts the first multiplesack game by a Broncos rookie since Monsanto Pope had two against the Raiders on Dec. 22, 2002.

at DENVER 22, OAKLAND 3 (Dec. 24, 2005)

The Broncos clinch their 10th AFC West title and first since 1998 with a victory against the Raiders on Christmas Eve... Denver also clinches the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and a perfect home record for the fifth time with its win over Oakland... Denver RB Mike Anderson (46 yds., 1 TD) eclipses the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career... Denver converts 50 percent or better of its third-down attempts for the second consecutive game (8-for-15 / 53%)... The Broncos outgain the Raiders 414 to 248 and hold the ball for 38:32... Oakland scores its only points on a field goal early in the fourth quarter.

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