Coming off a wild, 34-30, win at Carolina, the Raiders are looking to start 2-0 for the first time in three years. But the task will be tough against the powerful and balanced New Orleans Saints, who are also 1-0.
Here is a look at five keys for the Raiders on Monday night:
Get to Brees:
Last week, the Raiders put little pressure on Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater. That won’t fly against Drew Brees, one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Brees is a surgeon and he will pick apart the Raiders’ defense if it can’t bring consistent heat.
So, it’s up to Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, Arden Key and Carl Nassib to establish a real pass-rush threat.
Do it again on offense:
The Raiders offense was dynamic at Carolina. Quarterback Derek Carr was efficient, running back Josh Jacobs was dominant as a rusher and as a receiver, tight end Darren Waller was Carr’s favorite target and the offensive line was masterful as it allowed no sacks and allowed just three pressures on Carr. The game plan this week? More of the same. Of course, it’s not quite that easy. The Saints’ defense is underrated and stout against the run. It hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 44 games. If Jacobs can break that streak, the Raiders could be in business.
Last week, Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had a solid game against the Raiders and now they have to deal with Kamara, another dangerous tailback. With star New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas likely out with an ankle injury, Kamara is going to be a big crutch for Brees in both the run game and in the receiving game. The Raiders must have an eye on him at all times.
Don’t let an old friend take over:
With Thomas out of the game last week against Tampa Bay, New Orleans’ tight end Jared Cook became Brees’ favorite target. He had five catches for 80 yards in the win. That sounds familiar to Raiders fans. Cook was a productive player for the Raiders in 2017-18. Now, their defense must account for him Monday night,
Get Edwards involved:
The rookie receiver had one catch for nine yards against the Panthers. It would be nice to see him get more involved this week. It’s going to take time for Edwards to develop and he has a big challenge. In the end, Edwards is going to be fine, but it would be good to see some progress in Week 2.