Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are coming off a huge win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, but now they hit the road to help the Las Vegas Raiders make their debut at their new home on Monday Night Football.
The Saints will be taking a long plane flight for a Monday night battle with Jon Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders, who survived in a close game last week with the Carolina Panthers. When the Saints come marching into Vegas for the first game in Allegiant Stadium, I don’t know if the Raiders will get as lucky as they did last week on their road trip to Carolina.
The Saints are six-point road favorites for this contest, with the moneyline having New Orleans at -225 and Las Vegas at +195. The over/under has been set at 50.5.
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The Saints couldn’t be any higher after slaying the Buccaneers last week on their home turf. Even though the Saints left the Superdome victorious last Sunday, they played far from stellar.
Brees was inconsistent throughout the game, completing 18 passes on 30 attempts for 160 yards. He had two touchdowns through the air, but the Saints offense wasn’t nearly as prolific as we have seen in the past.
The one thing that they did well was they played mistake-free football on offense, limiting the sacks they took and dominating the turnover margin.
Defensively, the Saints were solid. Tom Brady couldn’t get into a rhythm all day after his opening touchdown drive as he went on to throw two interceptions and just looked uncomfortable all day long.
If the Saints can confuse Brady, I think they’ll be able to do the same thing to Derek Carr. This forces us to ask the question: Do the Saints have a legit defense, or did they just hit the Buccaneers on a bad week? Only time will tell.
Opening New Digs
The Raiders looked good last Sunday, and while the score reflects a one-touchdown game, they really had control for the majority of the afternoon. Granted, they were playing the Panthers, who have one of the worst teams in football.
They gave up a 12-point fourth-quarter lead but rallied back with a Josh Jacobs touchdown and a fourth-down stop to seal the deal and start the season unbeaten.
Offensively, the Raiders looked good through the air and on the ground. Carr picked on a depleted Panthers secondary throughout the game, and Jacobs was a constant workhorse all day long, tallying 93 hard-fought yards on 25 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, one fact is very important from last week. The Raiders held arguably the best running back in the league to 97 yards.
Carolina’s play-caller, Joe Brady, was making his NFL offensive coordinator debut, but any time an opposing defense can hold McCaffrey under 100 yards, it’s a win.
I will argue that the Saints have one of the best offensive lines in football, unlike the Panthers, so Alvin Kamara may have a little more luck going up against an average Las Vegas front seven.
The Saints will cover this week. I wouldn’t expect much offensive production out of the Raiders. They looked solid last week against a bad team.
They used Jacobs all day long, but the Saints are much better on the defensive line, so I expect them to neutralize Jacobs for most of the night.
Brees said last week that he didn’t play well, so expect him to come back with a vengeance and make a statement. They won’t have their best downfield threat, Michael Thomas, in the lineup, but expect the Saints to methodically pick apart the Las Vegas defense.
I believe Kamara will be the star of the show because of a dominating performance in the trenches by the Saints’ offensive line on Monday night.
I am taking the under this week as well. The Saints are going to pound the football, which results in the clock ticking and not a lot of scoring. The Raiders won’t be able to produce like they did last week because the Saints are not the Panthers, and moving the football will be at a premium this week for Las Vegas.
I’m taking the Saints -6 and under 50.5.