Can the Raiders upset the Saints in their first ever game in Las Vegas?
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why it very well could happen.
Henry Ruggs III is expected to be in the lineup
It looks like Ruggs will be available as the Raiders have been operating under the assumption that he will play. That’s good news, but it will be interesting to see how close he is to 100 percent.
If healthy, the presence of Ruggs is huge.
On the flip side, Trent Brown and Nick Kwiatkoski are all but ruled out. Statistically, players that are listed a ‘doubtful’ have a 99 percent chance of not playing. Neither player was placed on injured reserve so the Raiders obviously think both can return soon… but don’t look for Brown to win that race.
Officials are throwing fewer flags this year
Penalties are down this year and holding calls dropped a whopping 78% in week one compared to a year ago. It looks like the NFL got the message that fans don’t tune in to football to watch the officials. As it relates to the Raiders, fewer penalties will be a good thing. But let’s see if the trend continues, especially for the team that gets bamboozled by the refs more than anyone in the league.
Derek Carr loves prime time
Carr loves a national audience… or at least his win/loss record seems to love a national audience. It’s interesting how much better the Raiders have played in prime time during the Carr era.
Michael Thomas is out and Drew Brees is… getting old?
Without Michael Thomas, the Saints offense changes dramatically. And without the best receiver in the NFL, is 41 year-old Drew Brees going to look like the same All Pro quarterback?
The Saints offense was a little pedestrian last week with Thomas and Brees ended the game with 160 yards on 30 pass attempts. No one is calling it, but look for a bounce back from Paul Guenther’s defensive group this week.
Can the Raiders win the trenches on both sides of the ball?
Even without Trent Brown, the Raiders offensive line dominated in week one. That wasn’t a surprise. But it was surprising that the defensive line wasn’t better. Look for Rod Marinelli’s defensive line to bounce back this week.
The Raiders have circled this game
It’s fair to wonder if the Saints might be coming down from a high and the Raiders are getting ready to enter theirs. Brees versus Tom Brady was the super hyped game of the week last week… while the Raiders quietly traveled across the country to beat a team everyone expected them to beat. This is the game the Raiders have been looking forward to for months.
Can the same be said of the Saints?