Both the Las Vegas Raiders and Arizona Cardinals will be looking to bounce back in Week 2 after suffering losses in their respective season openers. But Davante Adams did look sharp last Sunday, hauling in 10 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, and that performance was good enough for DraftKings Sportsbook to make the Raiders nearly a touchdown favorite over the Cardinals heading into Sunday.
Adams now looks to terrorize the red birds but do they have enough in the defensive backfield to keep him at bay? Seth Cox from Revenge of the Birds was kind enough to answer that question and a few others to give Raider Nation a quick preview of the matchup.
Q: Kyler Murray’s contract negotiations seemed to get pretty ugly during the offseason and culminated with the infamous film study clause. I know they’ve gone back and removed that clause from the contract but the fact it was in there in the first place says something about his work ethic. Has being underprepared been an issue for Murray in the past and if so, how have you seen that manifest itself on the field?
A: No, being injured and trying to play through it had the most negative effect on his end-of-the-season woes last year. Murray has gotten better each year but has to finish a season healthy and producing, but a lot of the negativity comes from that end-of-the-season lull.
The situation with the study clause was just a guy signing a contract looking at something saying “I already do that so no big deal” while the owner was responding to the public criticism. In the end, owners should worry less about what’s said on social media and more about what the locker room and coaching staff say.
Q: DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension leaves some big shoes to fill within the Cardinals’ receiving corps. How different is their offense without Hopkins in the lineup and who is expected to step up and fill that void?
A: The offense got off to a slow start when Rondale Moore was the main focus of the offensive game plan in Week 1 and then he tweaked a hamstring on Wednesday. It made the Cardinals then target Greg Dortch, Moore’s replacement and it wasn’t a great idea.
In the end, with Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz, they have some solid weapons, but Moore and Ertz need to get healthy. If that happens, the passing game has weapons at all levels of the field and they’ll be able to take advantage of which helps open up the running game. We will see how that looks this week.
Q: Rodney Hudson was a fan favorite and a three-time Pro Bowler for the Raiders. How’s he been for the Cardinals and how much of a factor do you think he’ll play in the revenge game this weekend?
A: Rodney has been … OK so far. He doesn’t have the same strength that he did in his prime with the Raiders so he hasn’t been as good in run-blocking situations. However, he still is a great pass protector and obviously is great with helping set protections.
The issue becomes his age and a lack of camp work for a big offensive lineman can mean it takes a couple of weeks to get into game shape and his lack of conditioning did become obvious last week. Hopefully, he’s a little further along this week and the Cardinals can get more consistent play.
Q: On the defensive line, who replaces Chandler Jones, and is JJ Watt still the dominant force he was in Houston, or has he lost a step?
A: No one really replaces Chandler, that has been a large complaint among the fanbase this off-season. They rotate Markus Golden (good) Devon Kennard (below average), Dennis Gardeck (very good pass rusher), and Isaiah Simmons there and hope to get something.
Along the line, they have a perpetually injured J.J. Watt who is still very good when on the field but he’s not there very often. He’s not a game wrecker anymore, but instead a very good, high-energy player who can make splash plays every once in a while. Then the young guy is Zach Allen who was coming into his own last year prior to an injury that he played through.
The pass rush needs to give them something this weekend or Derek Carr will get healthy quickly for your Raiders.
Q: To be honest, I feel like Las Vegas has a significant advantage with Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow against Arizona’s secondary. What are your thoughts on that matchup? Adams’ receiving total is set at 93.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook, would you take the over?
A: The Cardinals came into the season needing defensive back help and come into this game worse off. Antonio Hamilton, a likely starter burned himself with hot cooking oil in the preseason and is still recovering. They traded for an injured Trayvon Mullen who hasn’t been able to play yet. So, it’s a bunch of young guys and non-corners playing corner.
This is where your previous question comes in. If the Cardinals can’t get pressure on Carr, and they are already at a decided disadvantage in the secondary, it will be a long day at the office. This has been why the start of games with Kansas City, Las Vegas and the Rams was so daunting to fans. You have three great passing teams and a secondary that leaves a lot to be desired before the injuries. Hopefully, Marco Wilson plays as well this week and Byron Murphy Jr can have a bounce-back game, but I think it will really depend on the pass rush more than anything.
All of that being said, I would take Adams over 93.5 and if you play anywhere you can bet it up for plus money I would do so up to 120 yards. Adams at 93.5 against this secondary feels like stealing money. Of course, it is the NFL and stranger things have happened, but I would hammer his over and if you can get greedy and alt bet it higher.
Good luck and good health in the game.