The Las Vegas Raiders are 1-0 after a tough win against the Carolina Panthers. However, Week 2 introduces an even more daunting task for the young offense when they face the New Orleans Saints.
The Raiders came out of Week 1 with a win
The Raiders punished the Panthers faulty run defense with a dose of running back Josh Jacobs. The sophomore ran for 93 yards, three touchdowns, and caught four passes for 46 passing yards. Jacobs will have a harder time achieving the same production against the top rushing defense. The Saints beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers convincingly and held their top rusher, Ronald Jones, to 66 yards on 17 carries with no touchdowns. Recently signed Leonard Fournette failed to make an impact and contributed with a mere five yards.
The Saints front four are scary enough but their secondary is no slouch either. The Buccaneers signed quarterback Tom Brady to orchestrate a frightening offense. He now has pretty good receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin but couldn’t get them the ball much in Week 1. All in all, Evans and Godwin had 81 yards combined and one touchdown. Brady threw two interceptions against the Saints defensive backs, one of which resulted in a return for a touchdown.
They will have a daunting task against the Saints
What does all this mean for the Raiders? It means the offense needs to be on point. The offensive line needs to keep playing as they did against the Panthers. As a group, they only allowed three pressures, and quarterback Derek Carr went basically untouched. Moreover, he was only under pressure on 10% of his throwbacks, the lowest rate in the league. That needs to be the case again on Monday night even though it won’t be an easy task due to the presence of Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport, two pretty good pass rushers.
Head coach Jon Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olson introduced a healthy offensive attack in Week 1. They featured Jacobs, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, tight end Darren Waller and a touch of Hunter Renfrow. Olson should focus on his speedy receivers against the Saints by drawing their backs in with play-action. Also, they need to get wide receivers Rico Gafford, Zay Jones, and Bryan Edwards involved in the passing game.
With a superior passing rushing attack from defensive end Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport, we should expect to see a heavy tight end/running backset (23 personnel ideally) to extend the Raiders blocking scheme to really force holes for Jacobs. Devontae Booker should also get the ball as he played solidly when he saw the field in Week 1.
The advantage the Raiders have is that the Buccaneers did not know what Saints’ defense they would be seeing, even though their roster has not changed significantly since 2019. Gruden will finally have updated tape on the Saints that needs to be studied, memorized, and hopefully exploited. Fans of the Silver and Black should expect an exciting game Monday that will require a Raiders offense to be putting forth their best product possible.
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