ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders spent almost all of training camp and the week leading up to the season opener without star receiver Antonio Brown on the practice field.

So while most outsiders figured his release two days before the opener would be as costly as last year's trade of pass rusher Khalil Mack, the Raiders believed they had a much-improved team capable of competing and showed that in a 24-16 victory Monday night over Denver.

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