Week 2 Preview: New Orleans Saints vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Week 2 Preview: New Orleans Saints vs. Las Vegas Raiders

by September 20, 2020 0 comments

Viva Las Vegas.

In a Monday Night Football primetime game, the Raiders make their Las Vegas debut against the New Orleans Saints. This is the Raiders’ consecutive NFC South opponent, as they look to start off the season 2-0. The Raiders haven’t started the season 2-0 start since 2002. Meanwhile, the Saints look to continue to lead the way offensively and go 2-0.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints opened up the season with a quarterback battle between Drew Brees and Tom Brady, the two leading passers in NFL history. New Orleans spoiled Brady’s Buccaneer debut with a final score of 34-23. On paper, it appears as a shoot out between the two future Hall of Famers. However, the Saints’ defense was responsible for 14 of the team’s 34 points. New Orleans picked off Brady twice, with the first by safety Marcus Williams. It later led to a six-yard touchdown run by Alvina Kamara.

The second one resulted in a pick-six by cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The Raiders have a young, but solid offense led by Josh Jacobs and speedy wide receivers. However, rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards are facing a solid secondary led by Marcus Lattimore and Jenkins. With the injuries of Marcus Davenport and Chase Hansen, the Saints could have some minor trouble handling the Raiders’ running game.

Offensively, the Saints will be without Thomas due to a high ankle sprain. This does not mean that New Orleans will encounter many struggles. Losing Thomas will give more scoring opportunities for Emmanuel Sanders and former Raiders tight end Jared Cook, who had five catches for 80 yards in Week 1. Thomas’ injury also opens up the run game for Kamara, who only rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown on the ground last week. Expect the Saints to utilize Kamara more in both the run and pass game.

Las Vegas Raiders

Both teams are a part of history, especially for the Raiders, who will make their debut at Allegiant Stadium, just off the Las Vegas strip. What else makes this game historical? There will be no fans in attendance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This could be a disadvantage for the Raiders, who feeds off the energy from Raider Nation in the stands. Las Vegas has to line up and zone in on the Saints to compete in the game. The Raiders’ offensive production lies in the hands and feet of Jacobs, who made fantasy football participants very happy. He finished Week 1 with 93 yards and three touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers. Look for head coach Jon Gruden to continue to utilize his running unit.

The Raiders’ receiving core of Ruggs, Edwards, and Hunter Renfrow are all fast and solid route runners with good hands. The issue is their inexperience and New Orleans also has the defense to slow down tight end Darren Waller. For this reason, expect the Raiders to mix up their playbook and rotations more by utilizing Foster Moreau, Nelson Agholor, and Jalen Richard. Las Vegas has shown success on offense thus far, so expect them to compete with the Saints’ offense due to their experience on defense.

The Raiders struggled to put pressure on Teddy Bridgewater in Week 1, so one key is to blitz Brees more and limit his time in the pocket. Las Vegas will likely be missing their defensive play caller, Nick Kwiatkoski, so this could put some pressure on the secondary to disrupt the Saints’ depleted passing game.

Game Info 

Date: September 21, 2020

Start Time: 5:15 P.M. PST

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.

Stadium: Allegiant Stadium

TV Info: ESPN

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook

Point Spread: NO -5.5 (-110) | LV +5.5 (-110)

Moneyline: NO -240 | LV +195

Over/Under: Over 48.5 (-110) | Under 48.5 (-110)

With a big game in a brand new environment, expect the Saints to challenge the Raiders even more so than Week 1 against their NFC South rival. New Orleans struggled last week offensively but still won in double digits. The Raiders have the offense to keep up with New Orleans, but their defense is still a concern, so it’s safe to take the over.

Prediction

Due to the solid offensive game from Las Vegas and the experience and firepower in New Orleans, this game will come down to who plays better defense. The Saints showed their success on defense in Week 1, unlike the Raiders. They will face a Saints team without Thomas, but New Orleans has too many weapons for the Raiders to defend for four quarters.

Final Score: New Orleans Saints 34, Las Vegas Raiders 24

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Nicolette Rojo is a first-year graduate student, freelance reporter, producer, podcaster, SPJ and BEA member who covers NFL, MLB and other breaking new across all professional leagues. Follow on Twitter: @NicRojo242.

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