After a Week 1 victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Las Vegas Raiders will play host to the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 on Monday Night Football. The staff of Silver and Black Today provides their game predictions for the primetime showcase.
After a brilliant outing by running back Josh Jacobs in his 2020 season debut, he will face a New Orleans defensive front that ranked top five against the run in 2019 and allowed just 82 rushing yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Monday night will feature strength versus strength in this superior matchup as the Raiders kick-start a new era in Las Vegas against the Saints.
The Saints have ruled out two prominent players for this week’s contest: wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) and defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow). The absence of Thomas and Devenport are major blows to each side of the ball, but the Saints have shown recent success when missing key figures before. Most recently in 2019, they posted a 5-0 record without Drew Brees under center while he recovered from a hand injury.
Additionally, the Raiders have injuries of their own. The Saturday injury report listed offensive tackle’s Trent Brown (calf) and Sam Young (groin) as doubtful, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral) as doubtful and receiver Henry Ruggs III (knee) as questionable.
With both teams coming off a victory to start their 2020 campaigns, confidence should be considerably high for their first primetime appearance this season.
Here are our staff predictions ahead of the Raiders-Saints Week 2 matchup:
Scott Gulbransen, Editor & Publisher
I’m going to go on a limb here and reverse course of the prediction I made of a Raiders’ loss on Raider Nation Radio 920 last week. With both teams dealing with injuries, and despite the veteran advantage, I expect the Raiders to eke out a close win at home against the Saints. I don’t think Derek Carr racks up a bunch of stats, but Josh Jacobs likely carries the ball 20-plus times for over 125 yards and the Raiders win on a Daniel Carlson field goal in the final minutes. Viva Las Vegas. Raiders 24, Saints 23
Maurice Moton, Sr. Columnist
Drew Brees won’t have wideout Michael Thomas, and he doesn’t stretch the field. The Raiders’ defense must do two things: bring pocket pressure and contain the intermediate passing game. The defensive line hasn’t done enough to show it’s capable of the former. Brees can pick apart the opposition with enough time. Also of note, Henry Ruggs III’s leg injury is something to worry about. Will he provide the same spark we saw in Week 1? Saints 28, Raiders 24
Nick Cothrel, Staff Writer
The much-anticipated wait to kick things off inside Allegiant Stadium is finally here. In doing so the Raiders will have a large task ahead as they host a perennial Super Bowl-caliber team in the New Orleans Saints. Under part two of the Jon Gruden era, the Raiders are 3-3 in primetime matchups. While the Raiders get a little assistance with wide receiver Michael Thomas and defensive end Marcus Davenport listed as out, Las Vegas has a surplus of injuries in their own right. Both offenses recorded 30-plus points in Week 1, and I expect a similar type of outing from each offense in Week 2. However, the Raiders’ lack of pass-rush against the Carolina Panthers was alarming, and if they have similar issues on Monday night, Drew Bress could pick apart their young secondary. In a close contest, I have the Saints coming away with the close victory. Saints 38, Raiders 35
Noah Strang, Staff Writer
Their first game in Las Vegas and the Raiders face a tough test against the New Orleans Saints. I expect both teams to put points on the board, but what I saw from the Raiders’ defense last week just didn’t instill enough confidence in me. With Michael Thomas out, the Raiders will have a slightly easier job. However facing Drew Brees, one of the best passers of all-time, you can be sure he will take advantage of the Raiders’ defensive miscues if they play in a similar fashion to how they produced last week. I’m picking the Raiders to lose, but Josh Jacobs continues to dominate on the ground and Henry Ruggs III gets his first NFL touchdown. Saints 35, Raiders 31
Chris Engelage, Staff Writer
Remember when these teams played in 2016? I think we will see a similar game. The Saints being without Michael Thomas could slow things down a bit, which means former Raiders’ tight end Jared Cook could be in line for a big day given he led New Orleans with six catches in Week 1. Even without Thomas, Drew Brees will still have the talented veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders to keep the Raiders’ young secondary busy. Ultimately, I think the Raiders win a narrow one off the leg of Daniel Carlson, who is coming off AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. After a monster performance from Josh Jacobs in Week 1, I’m expecting a big game from Derek Carr as the Saints will likely stack the box to stop the run. Raiders 31, Saints 28.
Kelly Kriner, Staff Writer/Draft Analyst
Michael Thomas being out is a big blow to the Saints but I just watched the Carolina Panthers drop 30 points on the Raiders’ defense. The non-existent pass rush has a much tougher road against one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Josh Jacobs will see a heavy workload and will have a productive day, but I don’t think it will be enough. The Raiders aren’t in the same league as the Saints…YET. If this game was Week 10, I would probably pick the Raiders in an upset. Saints win in a close contest. Saints 27, Raiders 20
Evan Groat, Staff Writer
I am concerned about the status of Nick Kwiatkoski, Trent Brown and Henry Ruggs for Monday night’s game. I’m also concerned that the defense gave up 30 points to Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers a week ago. Even without Michael Thomas, Drew Brees has weapons at his disposal in Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray and Taysom Hill. If the defensive line fails to generate a pass rush it could be a long night for the Raiders. It’s been 44 games since the Saints have allowed a 100-yard rusher, that being said, Derek Carr will have pressure on him to get it done through the air which will be difficult against a talented Saints’ secondary and a good pass rush. Saints 34, Raiders 24
Mathew Fallon, Staff Writer
This should be an extremely fun matchup, but one that poses plenty of challenges for the Raiders. The Saints’ two biggest strengths in my opinion are their offensive line and run defense, which doesn’t mesh well with the Raiders’ strengths and weaknesses. The Raiders poor pass rush struggled against a bad Panthers’ offensive line, and a matchup against the Saints’ front five doesn’t look pretty. The Saints haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in three-plus seasons, and the Raiders’ offense hums through Josh Jacobs. Can Derek Carr do enough to beat veteran Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints’ offense? Even without Michael Thomas, I believe the Saints will come out on top, but the Raiders will play them tough. A fourth-quarter drive by Brees seals it. Saints 31, Raiders 24
By the Numbers: Raiders & Saints in Week 1
Passing Yards: 239
Rushing Yards: 133
Total Penalties: 3
Penalty Yards: 40
Time of Possession: 31:12
Passing yards: 189
Rushing yards: 82
Total Penalties: 6
Penalty Yards: 119
Time of Possession: 31:23