There are good things going on with the Oakland Raiders these days. Derek Carr has emerged into one of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks, Reggie McKenzie has proven to be an effective general manager and head coach Jack Del Rio guided the team to a 7-9 record in 2015 after seasons of 4-12, 4-12 and 3-13 from 2012-2014.
Then, Thursday night came another indication that the Raiders are a team on the rise: they’re a prime-time team again.
The Raiders are scheduled to play three regular-season games on prime-time television broadcasts in 2016, the most since 2006 when the team appeared four times in night games.
Apparently, the networks are voting that the Raiders will be worth watching again and have some star power with players such as Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper to bring in ratings.
The Raiders’ three prime-time games will be: on Sunday, Nov. 6, against the visiting Denver Broncos at 5:30 p.m. on NBC; on Monday, Nov. 21, against the Houston Texans in Mexico City at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN; and Thursday, Dec. 8, against the host Kansas City Chiefs at 5:25 p.m. on NBC, the NFL Network and live streaming on Twitter.
The Monday night game against the Texans will be the Raiders’ 66th appearance on “Monday Night Football.”
In addition, notes Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com, the Raiders also have two late-season games against the Colts (Saturday, Dec. 24) and Broncos (Sunday, Jan. 1) that are “flex” games, meaning they could be moved to prime time if the Raiders or their opponents are in the heat of a playoff race.
The Raiders open the regular season on Sunday, Sept. 11, with a 10 a.m. (Pacific) game in New Orleans against the Saints and conclude with Game No. 16 with that Jan. 1 date in Denver. The Raiders’ strength of schedule ranks 15th in the NFL for 2016.