Monday Night Football is going south of the border. The Oakland Raiders will play the Houston Texans on November 21st live from Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The league has games in London every year now. But finally, the NFL is returning to Mexico for the first time since 2005 when the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-14. The game is taking place in an amazing venue. Azteca Stadium can host over 100,000 people so it should be loud and electric.
The first funny thing to note is that this is technically a home game for Oakland. I know that sounds wrong but someone had to give up a chance to play in front of their own crowd. For Houston, this is just another road trip. If anything a much shorter road trip. I predict the locals will favor the Raiders. Mostly because they have more history, better uniforms, and the Texas team they really like in Mexico is the Cowboys. Sorry Houston.
In terms of the actual matchup, it looks pretty good. Two division leaders with very solid records. But Oakland (7-2) should have the edge over Houston (6-3). The Texans play very well at home but this isn’t their home, while the Raiders have won all their away games. Plus, the Raiders are the more balanced team. They can run, they can pass and their defense has been stepping up. Pair all that with a coach in Jack Del Rio who is ready to go for the kill and Houston just doesn’t stack up. RB Lamar Miller has been steady and WR DeAndre Hopkins is always a threat but this crew just doesn’t have enough.
Monday Night Football in Mexico is a great idea. Not only does it help build the league brand in a nation that loves sports but it’s an NFL story and actually has some good will. MNF has never traveled outside the Untied States before and it’s great that we gave Mexico a legit night and not just some more preseason garbage. Let’s hope this is just the start of more active sharing with our North American brothers. You too Canada!
The only thing missing now is a great game. For the NFL, ESPN, football fans and everyone in Mexico, let’s hope for two halves of intense action. Let’s have some sacks, fumbles, hits, long touchdown passes, crazy runs and trick plays. Multiple lead changes, maybe even overtime. Let’s start a new tradition of football in Mexico. It all starts now, on Monday night.