In the first inaugural season as a Las Vegas franchise, the Raiders will hit the road to Charlotte, N.C. to take on the NFC South’s Carolina Panthers. Both teams had a busy and unique offseason, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater making his debut behind center, who is coming off a solid year as the New Orleans Saints’ backup last season. He went 5-0 after Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury. Meanwhile, the Raiders are looking to snag a Week 1 road victory before heading home to Allegiant Stadium for their Las Vegas debut in Week 2.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders’ first training camp in Nev. can easily be described with one word: interesting. Las Vegas caught a slight case of the injury bug, with veteran wide receiver Tyrell Williams placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn labrum in his shoulder. New backup quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a pectoral injury, according to NFL Network. However, he is expected to return to the 53-man roster in three weeks.
Las Vegas also traded offensive tackle David Sharpe and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Washington Football Team for a 2021 sixth-round pick. The more interesting move was trading rookie running back Lynn Bowden Jr. and a sixth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for a fourth pick in 2021. The pick was the same one traded to Miami in return for linebacker Raekwon McMillan, so it was essentially a Bowden for McMillan exchange. As of today, the Raiders do not have any players listed on the injury report, so they are expected to enter tomorrow’s matchup with a full roster.
Similar to the Raiders, the Panthers made several moves in the offseason. The difference is that Carolina enters 2020 with a new coaching staff. After Ron Rivera‘s departure to Washington, Matt Rhule took over as head coach. A key to watch for Carolina is their new offensive scheme. The Panthers hired LSU’s passing game coordinator Joe Brady as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Brady was key in quarterback Joe Burrow‘s development and LSU’s powerhouse offense as the reigning national champions, so look for the Panthers to make a surge in their passing game.
Asides from adding Bridgewater, the Panthers added more weapons offensively, with the signings of wide receivers Robby Anderson and Seth Roberts, along with tight end Seth DeValve. Christian McCaffrey returns in the backfield after signing his four-year, $64 million extension in April. However, a big concern is their offensive line. The Panthers traded away guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers for offensive tackle Russell Okung, but he is older and a few steps slower than previous years. In addition, the Panthers’ starting left guard Dennis Daley is ruled out for Sunday’s matchup due to an ankle sprain. Newly acquired offensive guard Michael Schofield will start in his place.
Date: Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020
Start time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Charlotte, N.C.
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium (no fans)
TV Info: FOX. Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, and Jay Feely will all be on the call.
Point Spread: Raiders -122 (-2.5)
Moneyline: Raiders -143, Panthers +125
Over/Under: 47.5 (-110)
The Raiders are the favorite due to their experienced offense and improved defense (on paper). However, do not count out the Panthers since Las Vegas does not have film on Carolina. With a new linebacker core, a rookie cornerback in Damon Arnette, the new addition to the defensive line (Maliek Collins), and second-year safety Johnathan Abram, it is unknown on how the defense will pan out. Las Vegas also won their last matchup 35-32 in 2016 in Oakland.
Las Vegas should come up with the victory, but this will not be an easy matchup due to the lack of film on Carolina. The Panthers also have an All-Pro running back and a brand new offense, who are facing an inexperienced Raiders’ secondary. Derek Carr had a strong training camp and with new additions Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, expect him to target the rookies throughout the game. Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, and Darren Waller could also cause a problem for Carolina’s defense. Expect this to be a mid-to-high scoring game.
Las Vegas Raiders 30, Carolina Panthers 24
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