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Texans vs. Raiders battling elevation in Mexico City

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Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is 2,100 feet more above sea level than Mile High Stadium in Denver.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Teams that travel to face the Denver Broncos have to battle the elevation of a stadium a mile above sea level. But the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will have to contend with an additional 2,100 feet in altitude when the two teams meet at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

It’s a dramatic change for the Texans and Raiders, who both play in stadiums less than 50 feet above sea level. In Mexico, they’ll play in a stadium with an altitude of 7,380 feet.

The Raiders contend that they’ve spent time preparing for the trip, but neither team traveled to Mexico early and Oakland players were vague about the strategies being used to get ready.

"We got things going on. I'd rather not say," Raiders defensive tackle Justin Ellis told ABC 7 News. "That's how it be. How it is."

During the first quarter of Monday night’s game, players were already feeling the effects of the altitude.

The last game in Mexico City was in 2005 and featured a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. After the game, not many players complained about the difficulty of playing in altitude, although then-Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown said it was an adjustment throwing in the thin air.

"You kind of get a feel for the altitude," McCown said, via NFL.com. "Some of the balls in the first quarter, you want them to come down, and just because of the air, they just sailed. It's kind of tough to judge."

Neil Rackers made six field goals for the Cardinals in that game, and that casts a spotlight on Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who once kicked a 63-yard field goal in Denver. Three of the five longest field goals of all time, including Matt Prater’s record of 64 yards, were all made in Denver. But another 2,100 feet will make long distance attempts even easier.

With Texans players warned to not even leave the team’s hotel upon arrival in Mexico, the biggest question Monday was the readiness of both teams after not spending much time in Mexico City acclimating to the elevation.