Las Vegas opened with a bang as the Raiders upset the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
The Raiders weren’t without their flaws. Their pass rush was still non-existent. Alvin Kamara and Latavis Murray were effective as receivers and runners versus the Raiders defense.
Our run game still averaged less than four yards a carry. How much can the team ride Josh Jacobs?
Derek Carr completed passes to a number of different receivers en route to three touchdowns and 284 yards. He was efficient as always but took a few good shots down the field.
We got a good long look at rookie guard John Simpson as Richie Incognito left with an injury. Early reviews are good. Rookie corner Damon Arnette took his lumps again. All rookie corners face ups and downs.
Either way, the Raiders face another tough test this week versus the New England Patriots. They will again face a perennial playoff team today.
We all know how they can start slow in those East Coast early start games. Carr won’t have the safety of a Dome. The Raiders haven’t won in New England since the ’90s.
New England is obviously a different team with Cam Newton. Newton already has four rushing touchdowns this year. The Raiders defense needs to stay discipline with Newton in an offense that features many wrinkles.
Last week, the Pats lost a close game to the Seahawks. Seattle’s Russell Wilson was damn near flawless versus the Pats. Vegas needs a similar performance from Carr this week.
The Seahawks also established multiple runners. Las Vegas needs a similar performance from their offensive line as well as Jacobs.
Seattle also took away the running game as Cam Newton threw almost 50 times. He was also their leading rusher as Sony Michel didn’t do much.
The Pats don’t have the same receiving threats outside of Julian Edelman. Edelman went off versus the Hawks and he could do the same versus the Raiders young corners and over-aggressive safeties.
Again, the Raiders need to stay discipline upfront. They need their defensive line to have a big week by staying on their keys but disrupting as much as possible.
On offense, the Raiders will need to keep feeding Darren Waller and Jacobs. Those are their biggest weapons. They also gotta do something to not run Jacobs into the ground. They can’t give him thirty carries while he is battling injuries and expect to make a playoff run.
Thus, starting 3-0 comes down to coaching. Gruden needs to get the fired up like it’s opening night on Monday again.
The defense needs to stay discipline and honest for four quarters. They need to find ways to pressure Newton, especially if he throws the ball a lot again. Our d-line needs to step up and find who they were last year.
Offensively, they need to continue mixing it up with different receivers. Let’s keep seeing some more Nelson Agoholor, Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards. All three made big plays on Monday. Jacobs and Carr need all the help they can go.
This is a winnable game for the Raiders as long as they don’t stray away from the young and explosive team we’ve seen the past few weeks. 2-1 is still progress but 3-0 Is another level. We need every win possible in the competitive AFC West.