With Week 1 now in the books, the Las Vegas Raiders are set to take on the New Orleans Saints tonight, closing out Week 2. A win against the Saints could give the Silver and Black a winning streak. Also, it could be the beginning of a special season.
The Raiders have assembled a pretty good offense
The last time the Raiders started a season with a 2-0 record was in 2017. Things would quickly go sour and they dropped the following four. All in all, the Silver and Black finished that year with a 6-10 record. Although they started the season before with a 0-1 record, they did end with a 12-4 record.
The Raiders surely would like the best of both worlds. They will be looking to win their first two games of the 2020 season as they did in 2017 while trying to emulate their 2016 counterpart. That year, quarterback Derek Carr had an MVP-like season, and that’s precisely how he carried himself against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1.
It isn’t just Carr, his supporting cast is one of the best in recent years
Carr definitely benefited from a lights-out performance by running back Josh Jacobs. Nevertheless, the seventh-year quarterback was efficient and completed passes at ease. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown. Last season, the Raiders didn’t have an adequate wide receiver corps, something they fixed this past offseason. Now, Carr has arguably the best wide receiver group he has had in his career.
Another unit that has shown is a strength for the Raiders is their offensive line. Last season, they allowed 29 sacks and Pro Football Focus ranked them as the 11th best group heading into 2020. Their 2019 performance carried over and allowed just three total pressures and no sacks in Week 1. They have the potential to be a top 5 unit by the end of the year.
The defensive side of the ball is another story though. Although they made a stand when it mattered the most, the unit allowed 30 points against the Panthers. They need to fix that if they want to contend week in and week out. In their favor, it’s early in the season and they have time to turn things around.
The Saints won’t make it easy but the opportunity is there
As good as the Raiders are, the Saints present a challenge. Even though quarterback Drew Brees is past his prime, he’s still efficient. Taysom Hill also presents a threat on offense and so does running back Alvin Kamara. Moreover, the Saints have a stout defense that could give this Las Vegas team fits.
In his latest press conference, Carr said that he sees similarities between the Raiders 2016 12-4 season and this team when they beat New Orleans 35-34. The quarterback added that back in 2016, ‘there wasn’t one person that thought we couldn’t go in there and win that game. Same thing here.’ Carr sounds confident the Raiders matchup against the Saints is a winnable one.
It won’t be easy but if the Raiders come out of their Monday Night Football matchup with a victory, it could be the start of a special season just like in 2016. It surely feels like deja vu all over again.
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