The Las Vegas Raiders will officially open Allegiant Stadium this Monday evening when the New Orleans Saints will visit town. The Saints are a perennial playoff contender, and this won’t be an easy matchup. Here are three ways the Saints can defeat the Raiders next Monday.
How to beat the Raiders in the middle of the field
One of the ways quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was able to get the Panthers offense going last week was by throwing over the middle of the field. Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen played very well last week, and Damon Arnette had a decent game. The only weakness the Raiders allowed in the passing attack was in the middle of the field. Nick Kwiatkoski battled injuries last week, and other defensive players had to spend time on the sideline as well.
Slant routes to wide receiver Michael Thomas, Crossing routes to tight end Jared Cook, and check-downs to running back Alvin Kamara are some routes that would work against the Raiders’ defense. Drew Brees is an experienced veteran, and if Las Vegas’ defense gives up the same openings they did last week, he’ll pick them apart. Speaking of Bress…
Let Drew Brees Control the Game
As we just mentioned, Brees has been in the NFL for a long time. He’s got a lot of experience, and he’ll need to use that against this young Raiders’ defense, which did a good job of keeping Carolina’s receivers from getting deep but allowed Teddy to pick apart their zone coverages. If Bridgewater can pick them apart, Brees should have no problem. I would expect Brees to attack cornerback Damon Arnette early and often after he struggled a bit in Week 1. I also expect Brees to get Kamara the ball as often as possible since the Panthers did that with McCaffrey and that worked well for them.
Brees also needs to control the game, and win the time of possession battle. Jon Gruden’s offense is built around controlling the tempo and the clock, so if the Saints can take that away they could throw the entire Vegas offense out of whack. The Raiders’ offense isn’t built to come from behind, so the Saints need to grab an early advantage.
Contain Josh Jacobs
Ever since his debut in 2019, running back Josh Jacobs has remained the focal point of the Raiders’ offense, for good reason. Vegas was able to run rampant on the Panthers defense last week with plays like this:
— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2020
As you see in the video, Jacobs can not be defended by a linebacker. He’s far too quick and sharp on his routes. The Saints are going to have to do their best to stop him on the ground, but they need to come up with a way to contain him in the passing attack too. Jacobs is quickly becoming one of the premier running backs in the league, and the Saints will need to have an answer for him come Monday Night.
The Saints can beat the Raiders on Monday night by containing Jacobs, throwing over the middle of the field, and control the tempo of the game. The Raiders won’t have an answer for the Saints if they are able to accomplish these keys. All in all, it should be a very exciting game next Monday. Can’t wait to enjoy the Raiders’ first game in Las Vegas.
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Top Photo: Steve Nesius/Associated Press