The first Las Vegas Raiders game of the season is a big one. The Baltimore Ravens come to town with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Currently, +4.5 point underdogs, what can the Raiders do to secure victory in Week 1?
Control Time of Possession
In a game that features two teams that love to run the football, the Raiders will need the ball in their hands as often as possible. Simply, when you are playing a quarterback the caliber of Lamar Jackson, you want to keep him on the sidelines. For the Raiders, this would allow the offense to set the tone through physicality and running the football. With the additions of Alex Leatherwood and the return of Richie Incognito on the offensive line, that’s something this team is built to do. Look for a heavy dose of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake in this one.
Contain Lamar Jackson
The most important aspect of the game for the Raiders will be stopping Jackson. One of the most electric players in the NFL, it is almost impossible to completely shut him down. However, Gus Bradley has some experience with defending the former MVP having done so in the playoffs in 2019. In that game, Bradley was able to hold Baltimore to less than 100 yards rushing as a team. Alas, if Lamar and the Ravens offense is able to get into a zone, it will be a long night for Las Vegas.
Limit The Big Play
As currently constructed, the Ravens’ passing offense is designed to generate big plays. With wideouts like Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins, Baltimore can stretch the field. The Raiders, however, have invested a lot into their secondary with an emphasis on limiting these explosive plays. If Bradley and his defense can help limit these plays, Raiders fans will feel much happier about the team moving forward.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Nick Wass