The Las Vegas Raiders will take a step up in competition versus the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. For that reason, they can’t afford to beat themselves.
The opening week matchup versus Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey was hard fought and came down to a defensive stop. Monday night’s game against future NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees and the Saints will be that much more difficult. The Saints defense picked off Tom Brady twice last week, so Derek Carr will have to again be his usual efficient self.
The catalyst for the Raiders will have to be running back Josh Jacobs, though he might have a tougher time against the Saints than he did last Sunday. Against Carolina, the Raiders running game averaged 4.3 rushing yards per attempt, that number might go down against New Orleans. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were only able to muster 3.3 rushing yards per attempt, the Saints defense only gave up 86 yards on the ground. Jacobs scored three rushing touchdowns, so it’ll be imperative that Raiders head coach Jon Gruden keeps the momentum going. In other words, the Raiders will have to run it down the Saints’ throats but more importantly, control the clock once again.
Time Of Possession Will Be Key For Raiders
Maintaining the same efficiency and discipline the Silver and Black showed last week is of the utmost importance. The Raiders finished with no turnovers and minimal penalties, so if they expect to stay in this game with the Saints, they must repeat this.
Even after playing such a pristine game, the team found itself having to claw for a victory with a defensive stop. This is something you just can’t do with Brees, giving the Saints any extra yards or opportunities will lead to this game quickly getting out of hand.
Against the Panthers, the Raiders controlled the clock with 31 minutes and 12 seconds. Their third-down efficiency will also have to get better against the Saints, versus the Panthers they were 6 for 11. It will be a true test on Monday night where we will be able to gauge how far along the Raiders are in Gruden’s third year.
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*Top Photo: Mark Brown/Getty Images