- Monday will be the Raiders final home opener in Oakland as they prepare to move to Las Vegas in 2020.
- The Texans have lost three of its last four season openers.
- The Saints have lost each of their last five season openers.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – NFL Monday Night Football kicks off on ESPN with a doubleheader for the 2019-20 season. The double-feature will put the finishing stamp on what has been an exciting Week 1 in the NFL.
Monday night’s first game features two division champs looking to build off of last year’s success, the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are 7-point favorites heading into the matchup, but the Texans hope to make the contest more interesting than it’s expected to be.
Texans’ running back Lamar Miller suffered an ACL injury in the preseason so Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson will likely split the load in the backfield when it comes to the Texans’ rushing attack. Quarterback Deshaun Watson looks to build on an impressive season last year that saw him throw for over 4,000 yards and lead his team to a nine-game win streak after three consecutive losses to start the season.
The now 40-year-old Drew Brees also had an impressive run last season. In a league where elite, veteran quarterbacks are finding ways to maintain if not get better, Brees notched a career-high quarterback rating of 115.7.
The Texans’ defense has its work cut out for them, as it will lean on recent additions like Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo to fill the void left by Jadeveon Clowney and slow down the Saints’ high-powered offense.
The battle begins at 7:10 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Oakland's Final Home Opener
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The second matchup in the MNF doubleheader pits two divisional rivals against each other in a race to see who can return to glory in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders are both decided underdogs to win the division at +1200 and +1500 respectively at online sportsbook in the US. The result of Monday night’s game will have huge implications on how each team will fare.
Oakland plans to regroup refocus on the long season after finally moving on from the Antonio Brown saga. The Raiders will likely lean heavily on running back Josh Jacobs as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. They are hoping his dynamic play can help fill whatever offensive holes were left by Brown, both in personnel and overall strategy.
The Broncos defense will be up to the task in stifling the Raiders reconstructed offense, but they aren’t free of their own growing pains. Former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco and new head coach Vic Fangio hope to get off to a fast start offensively and ultimately dominate this 118th matchup between the two teams.
Denver is favored by 3-points, but if Flacco and the offense begin to stall, the Raiders' new defense will look to make the game a defensive battle in which any one play can turn the tide of the game.
Catch the Broncos and the Raiders in Oakland for a chance to climb up the AFC West ladder on ESPN at 10:20 p.m. EST after the Texans and Saints game.
Vince is a longtime sports writer, marketer, and content creator who has experience on both the collegiate and professional level. After graduating from Florida A&M University with Broadcast Journalism and Sport Management degrees, Vince interned as a product marketer for Turner Sports and the NBA.