Week 1 is in the history books as a victory for the Las Vegas Raiders. As Week 2 approaches, the Silver and Black face a tough early season opponent: The New Orleans Saints. For the Raiders, the following three keys will be essential to victory.
Make Brees Uncomfortable
This first key to victory is easier said than done. However, Drew Brees’ arm strength at age 41 is questionable at best. Don’t believe it? In the Saints’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brees completed just two of seven passes beyond ten yards. The short passing game is the staple of the New Orleans offense, and it is imperative that the Raider defense impedes the timing of receiver routes at the line of scrimmage.
During his 15 year tenure in the Big Easy, Brees has maintained a 68.7% pass completion rate. Aside from two seasons in that time period, the Saints signal caller has not managed to have a 60 percentage while under pressure per Pro Football Focus. The Silver and Black’s defensive play-calling in Week 1 was far too conservative in opportune pass-rush situations.
3rd & 14, Raiders in Cover 2. CB Nixon at top to weakside of formation never sees CMC come out of backfield as he has his back turned. Way to easy of a completion. #Raiders #Raidernation pic.twitter.com/BBBGoteO0S
— Ryan Holmes, MBA (@Rholm22) September 17, 2020
The Raiders only generated ten pressures last week against an underwhelming Carolina Panther offensive line. In order to beat the Saints, more pressure and tighter coverage is a must in order to win.
Contain Alvin Kamara
Saints running back Alvin Kamara may of only generated 16 yards rushing in Week 1, but he was still a dominant factor as a receiver.
— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2020
In addition to one touchdown reception, Kamara averaged 10.2 yards per reception on the day. Similar to McCaffrey, Kamara is a dynamic player when he has the football on his hands. With star wide receiver Michael Thomas out, Kamara takes the reigns as the best offensive skill player on the Saint roster. If the Raider defense is able to contain him, it will make the game more manageable.
Raiders Must Capitalize on Offense
Last but not least, the Raider offense will have to put up a large quantity of points if they want to win on Monday Night Football. Last week, Las Vegas scored 34 points, but they still have room for improvement in the red-zone passing game.
Squandered opportunities, especially against a quality football team such as the Saints, simply cannot happen. This New Orleans defense was able to generate three turnovers and three sacks against the Buccaneers last week. Should the Raiders not make the most of their opportunities, the Saints won’t hesitate to capitalize. The Silver and Black will need near perfect execution in order to win in Sin City’s historic opener.
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*Top Photo: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports