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Patriots to play Raiders in Mexico City next season

HOUSTON -- The Patriots will play the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City during the 2017 regular season, the NFL officially announced Wednesday.

This marks the second straight year that the Raiders will host a game in Mexico City. They beat the Houston Texans 27-20 on ESPN's Monday Night Football on Nov. 21.

"The Raiders are excited to return to Estadio Azteca and represent the National Football League once again on an international stage," Raiders owner Mark Davis said.

While a Patriots-Raiders matchup on Monday night could be enticing, a date and time for the game has not been finalized, though commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday may be easiest.

"I think right now we're leaning toward a Sunday game on the basis that playing on Monday night on a holiday weekend -- it was Thanksgiving week -- it was difficult for the teams getting home that late at night on a short week," Goodell said Wednesday. "So, we're reconsidering that and seeing if there's a better alternative for our teams."

"We have a tremendous fan base in Mexico," Goodell said in making the announcement. "Their passion for football is inspiring, and we look forward to another memorable game in Mexico City between two great teams next season."

The Patriots last played in Mexico in a 1998 preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, posting a 21-3 victory.

"The largest crowd the Patriots have played in front of was in Mexico City in 1998," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "It was a great experience and I am looking forward to our return. I know that we have a lot of passionate Patriots fans in Mexico. We have had plenty of success in international games and I attribute that to our tremendous fan support in those venues. I look forward to meeting some of our fantastic fans and enjoying the food and culture there in the fall."

Tuesday, before the official announcement, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, "I look forward to being down there, because it will be a great experience for our team. We've gone to London, and I've loved those experiences. They've been great bonding trips for our team, and to have the chance to play in Mexico will be just a great experience."

ESPN's John Sutcliffe reported in November that the teams would play in Mexico City.

"We love playing outside the country. We played down there and loved it," Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft said in an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub after the ESPN report. "If the league asked us to do it, we'd love to do it. It would be a lot of fun."

With media members from across the world covering Super Bowl LI, several Patriots players were asked about playing in Mexico over the past two days.

"There's a lot of excitement down there, and they love football," Brady said. "We want to go down there and put on a great show. We've got to wait awhile to get down there and play, but it will be a great experience when we do."