The Raiders

Can The Raiders Get A Win In The Big Easy?

Playing in the Superdome in New Orleans is always a tough place to play, and the New Orleans Saints are a tough out. But there’s an age-old football cliche: “It’s not who you play, but when you play them.” The Las Vegas Raiders are catching the Saints as they’re licking their wounds. Ravaged by the injury bug, the Saints are missing key players across the board. Down but not out, the Saints pose some interesting challenges.

DA vs. DC

Dennis Allen, the Saints’ head coach, began his head coaching career in 2012 with the Oakland Raiders. Allen is a defensive guy, and after rookie Derek Carr’s incredible performance against the Legion of Boom in the 2014 preseason, he was encouraged by what he saw. His best coaching decision was benching Matt Schaub and going with Carr at quarterback.

Unfortunately, Allen’s tenure came to an end in Week 4 of the 2014 season. That took place after a crushing 38-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Throughout Allen’s time pacing the sidelines of the Coliseum, his team tasted victory just eight times in back-to-back seasons. By his third season, he was 0-4 with his team spiraling out of control when he was relieved of his duties.

Fast forward to today, and Allen has once again worked his way into the head coaching position. This is a special game for Allen, with some degree of untold animosity. There is some familiarity with the quarterback he gave an opportunity to. His current superstar running back, Alvin Kamara, was quite demonstrative with reporters about asserting his level of confidence in achieving victory for his coach.

The Raiders’ Flu game

Strange things happen in the bayou, and the fact that it’s All Hallows’ Eve and Raider Nation will be on the scene should be insanity. At the end of the day, who does Halloween better than Raider Nation? A nasty “bug/virus” has circulated around the team, and Davante Adams has been a key player who hasn’t practiced because of it.

Luckily, COVID-19 protocols have given the Raiders a better idea of how to handle illnesses. Adams participated in practice on Friday, as did four additional teammates listed with illness. Head coach Josh McDaniels remains hopeful that Adams and others will be able to play on Sunday. Should he be cleared to play, he will not be matched up against Pro Bowl defensive back Marshon Lattimore. Cornerback Paulson Adebo is also questionable.

An Unsung Hero For The Raiders

The Raiders’ starting center, Andre James, is the hero Raider Nation never knew it needed. Replacing Rodney Hudson, his much beloved predecessor, was a difficult proposition. James has taken his lumps and survived an ugly start to the season. Much like last season, the first couple of weeks were rough on the offensive line. Five different offensive line combinations, a rookie starting at center, and more. Sometimes offensive line pieces just need time and the right situations to click.

Since returning from a concussion, James has been every bit the anchoring and stabilizing factor a center is supposed to be. Currently, the Raiders are providing Carr with a league-leading average of 2.6 seconds of pocket time. Of the 143 yards Josh Jacobs rushed for last week, 113 were gained before contact. Jacobs constantly praises his linemen for a job well done. In fact, he boasts of being able to make it 3-4 yards across the line of scrimmage before contact.

Both of these feats have come with the return of James and rookie Dylan Parham looking into his role as a guard. Running the ball is the new identity of the Raiders, and if they can continue to open holes, then the offense can continue to be successful.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Saints 21.

QB Breakdown: Derek Carr vs Andy Dalton

*Top Photo: ESPN/NFL

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