According to Jeff Hamilton, a journalist from Winnipeg, the Oakland Raiders will be heading north of the border to play a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. This seemingly finalizes the Raiders’ preseason schedule which will also see them face off against the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.
This’ll mark the first time an NFL game, preseason or otherwise, has been played in Canada since 2013 when the Buffalo Bills played the Atlanta Falcons in Toronto. The Bills used to have an agreement to play one game in Canada a year, but that 2013 game against the Falcons was the last time. The whole arrangement was viewed as a disaster for several reasons. Regardless, the NFL is going to try it’s hand again in Canada and hope for better results.
What it Means for the Raiders
The Raiders certainly are no strangers to playing abroad. Since the NFL started its international series in 2007, the Raiders have participated in four regular season games outside of the USA (two in Mexico, two in London) and are slated to play the Chicago Bears this season in London. Any trip internationally does not bode well for the silver and black as they’re 1-3 in international games and those three losses were blowouts.
Giving the Raiders a chance at an international game in the preseason might be a good warm-up of sorts for their clash against the Khalil Mack-led Bears. Other than their trip North, the Raiders will be happy to stay on the west coast for their other three games. They’ll be squaring off against every team in the NFC West besides the 49ers.
The preseason won’t be much of an indicator on how the season will fare for the Raiders. Last year, they went 3-1 and ended the season 4-12. In 2016, they went 1-3 in the preseason and finished the regular season 12-4. There are young players all over the roster, so they’ll have a good chance to work out some kinks, but don’t expect to see much from the big names like Derek Carr or Antonio Brown.
There have actually been talks of the NFL shortening the preseason because it seems to have lost value as of late. Implementation of an 18-game NFL season would almost certainly lead to a shortened preseason.
The Raiders have to travel more than any other team during the 2019 season, so it seems cruel to also make them play a preseason game in Canada. The Raiders are in for a grind in terms of traveling in 2019. Though, they should be used to it at this point because they also traveled more than any other team last year as well. Don’t be surprised if Jon Gruden has some choice words for the people working at the NFL scheduling office.
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