The Las Vegas Raiders are set to debut Allegiant Stadium in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Week 1’s matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers was one of the closer ones to try and call from a prediction standpoint.
I battled back and forth with it from the time the schedule was released to the lead up to Week 1, and up until then I was picking the Raiders. At the very last minute, I switched to the Panthers, so naturally I’m kicking myself.
I thought last week’s game went exactly how I thought it would go. Two healthy offenses with virtually no defense being played on either side. The only place I faltered was not picking the Raiders.
Josh Jacobs had a huge day once again to kick off his 2020 campaign which projects to be a special one for the second-year running back out of Alabama.
Other than Jacobs standing out, I’d be hard pressed not to argue the Raiders and Panthers were about as evenly matched as you could imagine.
388 total yards for the Panthers as opposed to 372 for the Raiders. 259 passing yards for the Panthers and 239 for the Raiders.
133 rushing yards for the Raiders and 129 for the Panthers. Both averaged 4.3 yards per carry. The Raiders were 3-for-4 in the red zone while Carolina was 2-for-3.
Only one sack between the two teams, neither turned the ball over, and the time of possession was basically identical.
This was a game the Raiders could’ve very well lost, but they were able to pull it out and start off their 2020 with a victory.
Now they open up their new home stadium against Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints just defeated Tom Brady in his first start with Tampa Bay and, in the process, forced Brady to throw two picks while the Bucs had a difficult time meshing together in their first game.
Michael Thomas will be sidelined for this game, so that’s a big plus for the Raiders, but ultimately, this is going to come down to what Derek Carr can do against the Saints defense and if their own defense can get off the field.
Drew Brees is 8-3 against the Raiders all-time and the Saints as team are 6-3 against them in their last nine meetings. But it’s also worth noting that the Saints are 3-3 on the road against the Raiders in six overall meetings.
This is a Saints team that has the ability to score from virtually anywhere. Even with Michael Thomas out, the Las Vegas secondary is not particularly a unit opposing quarterbacks hate to throw against.
This game could go down the path of the Saints pounding Alvin Kamara and grinding out a win, or Brees will simply look to his supporting characters outside of Thomas and still put up big numbers.
I don’t see the Raiders being able to stop this Saints offense, and for that reason, I cannot pick them to win.
I’m the first to admit that this Raiders team is one of, if not the toughest team in the league for me to get a read on week-to-week, but I think this is a really bad matchup for them even with the Saints missing their best receiver.
I have the Saints winning this game 35-23 with the Raiders coming on late to make it look closer than it actually is.
Bad matchup if these two teams are going to trade in a shootout. Bad matchup for the Raiders run game against a very good Saints run defense. Bad matchup for a young Las Vegas pass rush against what I believe to be a top offensive line in football.
Can’t wait to be utterly dumbfounded when the Raiders pull this off.