clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raiders-Saints Week 8: 5 things to watch

Can Las Vegas keep up the good vibes?

Houston Texans v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders started the easy stretch of their schedule the right way with a Week 7 win over the Houston Texans, now it’s onto a road game at the 2-5 New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. PT.

Here are five keys to victory for the Raiders:

Keep pounding Josh Jacobs:

No reason to get fancy here. Josh Jacobs is balling out and the Raiders have to continue to feed him the rock. Jacobs is third in the NFL with 633 rushing yards and he has ran for 140-plus yards in each of the past three games. It is the first time that has happened in Raiders’ history. He is one of the hottest players in the NFL regardless of position.

The opportunity for a fourth straight huge game is there. New Orleans is allowing 123,1 yards a game on the ground. The Raiders’ offense is best when the running game is humming, so keeping Jacobs hot is a major key.

Keep it up in the red zone:

Jacobs, of course, has helped the Raiders change their success in the red zone. He scored three touchdowns in the second half of a 38-20 win over the Texans that was tied at 10-10 at halftime. Dating back to Week 5, the Raiders have scored touchdowns in their last four trips to the red zone. Of course, it had been a big problem. So, if the Raiders can keep Jacobs going, have good balance on offense, the red-zone success should continue against the Saints.

Improved defense:

The Raiders’ have not been great on defense. They struggled against a bad Houston offense. The good news is that the Saints are pretty beat up on offense. But it is averaging 398.3 yards a game, the third best average in the NFL and it can run the ball. The Raiders had some issues against the run in the Houston game. The Raiders need to tighten on the run defense and on third down. The Las Vegas offense has been clicking, but it needs help.

Houston Texans v Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

No picks:

Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t thrown an interception in the past three games after throwing three in Week 1 and one in Week 3. Carr’s completion percentage is 63.5, which is on pace for his lowest since 2017. Yet, Carr had a season high completion percentage of 77.8 in Week 7. it was his only completion percentage over 64 percent since Week 2. if Carr can continue to stay away from turning the ball over and keep the high-completion percentage trend going, it would be a winning recipe.

More fourth quarter success:

There has been a clear theme in the Raiders’ two wins and their four losses this season. In their two victories, the Raiders have made big plays in the fourth quarter, including outscoring Houston 21-0 in the final quarter. However, in its four defeats, Las Vegas has failed to come through in the fourth quarter and its opponents have all made the big plays. This is a fourth-quarter league and you’re not going to win much if you fail down the stretch.