Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

 

New FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Saints – Week 8

Las Vegas Raiders (2-4) | New Orleans Saints (2-5)

Franchise Sports Media

 

Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Fresh off their second win of the season, the Silver & Black will pack their bags to pass a good time in the “Crescent City.” As is common knowledge, football is a religion in the state of Louisiana, and they sure love their Saints. Considering the level of passion that Raider Nation continually brings, this Sunday will pit two of the NFL’s most raucous fan bases against one another.

Basically, the Raiders will be traveling into their second truly hostile environment of the season. Like Kansas City, the crowd in NOLA is loud, proud, and boisterous. With that said, on-field communication will be paramount once again, especially along the offensive line. Overall, this unit has begun to gel—A successful trip to the Superdome will further that cohesiveness. As RB Josh Jacobs showed us last Sunday against Houston, he is still running wild through opposing defenses; That sounds like an excellent plan to silence the “Who Dat” Nation.

Naturally, the Raiders will be battling more than just the crowd in New Orleans. Despite allowing 28.6 pts per game over the first seven weeks of the season (including 33 pts per game in the month of October), the Saints still have a few perennial All-Pros on defense; I’m sure you’re familiar with the likes of DE Cameron Jordan, LB Demario Davis, S Tyrann Mathieu, and CB Marshon Lattimore.

New Orleans also maintains a unique offensive cast. With quarterbacks Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, and Taysom Hill on the roster, we will likely see Dalton start on Sunday if healthy enough (back). Outside of the signal caller, skill players Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Alvin Kamara, and Chris Olave are all certified ballers, but the former two are battling injuries of their own. Undoubtedly, health and availability will be a central theme in this one.

 

Previous contests:

 

HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)
WK6: 
BYE
WK7: Raiders 38 – Texans 20 (W)

 

KEYS TO THE GAME:

 

Health is wealth

 

Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Right off the bat, the story of this game may already lie within the injured list. The Raiders, who were pervasively banged up over the first four weeks of the season, have healed nicely compared to the rest of the NFL. Of course, the Silver & Black are still missing their Pro Bowl tight end, Darren Waller. Having re-aggravated a nagging hamstring injury in the first quarter against K.C., Waller was not in pads last week against the Texans. Will he play this week in NOLA? I’d lean toward no, but still, for the Raiders to be missing only one key name in Week 8 is considered good fortune in the NFL.

On the other side, the New Orleans Saints have definitely not had good fortune in the injury department. Heading into their last game against Arizona, the Saints’ injury report looked almost identical to their starting roster from the week before. Of course, there has already been much inconsistency at the quarterback spot; Jameis Winston and Dalton are both nursing ailing backs. Taysom Hill has also taken some snaps this season but has shown more value as a runner and receiver.

Pro Bowl WRs Mike Thomas and Jarvis Landry also missed last week with lower leg injuries; I find it unlikely that both suit up against the Raiders on Sunday, but we may see one or the other. Staying on the outside, CB Marshon Lattimore is trending to miss his second consecutive game with an abdomen injury; That may lead to another major day from WR Davante Adams. RB Mark Ingram, who is an integral part of the Saints’ dynamic running game, is also dealing with a knee issue. So yes, monitor the practice reports daily this week, and see below for the latest injury updates.

 

Navigating the Superdome

If you had to compile a list of the loudest venues in the NFL, Caesars Superdome in New Orleans would annually rank within the top 5. Being that the Raiders take a trip to Arrowhead Stadium once a season (and did so two weeks ago), non-verbal communication is something that should still be at the forefront of the offense’s priorities. In that recent meeting against the Chiefs, Vegas’ offense was able to find success early but saw issues late (see Adams and Renfrow 4th down collision).

Throughout the years, we’ve seen football teams employ various tactics in practice for dealing with loud environments: Running two-minutes drills with stereos blaring Rock’n’Roll, pumping in airplane turbine noise, not allowing any speaking, etc. Whatever the preferred strategy, the Raiders will need to ensure they are on the same page, especially in blitz protection–The last thing Raider Nation wants to see is Cam Jordan running free at Derek Carr because the O-line missed a check.

 

Prepare for a Track meet

 

Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

For the Raiders, this will be only their second game of the 2022 season played on an artificial surface (SoFi Stadium in Week 1). Famously, the Superdome in New Orleans plays extremely fast, which certainly helped former QB Drew Brees climb to the top of the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leaderboard (second only to Tom Brady). Yes, Brees is long gone and awaiting his gold jacket from Canton, but this current rendition of the Saints still has a slew of talented pass-catchers. On top of that, the Raiders‘ defense has allowed 1,576 yards through the air this season, which leaves them in the bottom half of the league.

If either/both Thomas or Landry is able to go on Sunday, that will present unfavorable matchups for Las Vegas’ defensive backfield. Also, with the addition of rookie-WR Chris Olave, New Orleans has their first true deep threat since Brandin Cooks was traded away. So far this year, Olave leads the Saints in receiving with 32 catches for 495 yards and two scores. Compare that to Adams’ 2022 line of 37 receptions/509 yards/5 touchdowns, and you can understand why Olave warrants attention for the Raiders‘ secondary. Again, whether or not Thomas and Landry are active in Week 8 will be a significant point of discussion.

 

Coaching matchup

Here’s a familiar face: Since being fired as the Raiders‘ head coach four games into Derek Carr’s rookie year (2014), Dennis Allen has gone on to find a home in the bayou. After joining Sean Payton’s staff as the DC in 2015, Allen is finally getting another head coaching shot (thanks partly to a weird retirement from Payton).

The son of a former NFL linebacker (Grady Allen), the defense runs in Allen’s blood. So, for the second straight week, McDaniels and the Raiders will be pitted against another defensive mind. Given that Allen has never orchestrated an NFL championship defense (or one to even make a deep playoff run), I lean confidently with McDaniels and his staff to build off the offensive flow of last week’s win (which may have been McDaniels best game as a play-caller in his Raiders’ tenure).

 

INJURY REPORT:

Below are Thursday’s (Oct. 27) practice participation sheets for the Raiders and Saints …

Las Vegas – S Johnathan Abram (Limited – Illness), WR Davante Adams (DNP – Illness), DE Tashawn Bower (DNP – Illness), LB Jayon Brown (Limited – Hamstring), QB Derek Carr (Full – Back), LB Divine Deablo (DNP – Back/Ankle), RT Jermaine Eluemunor (Limited – Knee), DE Clelin Ferrell (Limited – Illness), WR Mack Hollins (Limited – Heel), RB Josh Jacobs (Limited – Foot), WR Hunter Renfrow (Full – Hip), WR DJ Turner (Limited – Hamstring), TE Darren Waller (Limited – Hamstring).

 New Orleans – CB Paulson Adebo (Limited – Knee), TE Juwan Johnson (Limited – Hamstring), WR Keith Kirkwood (Limited – Ankle), WR Jarvis Landry (DNP – Ankle), CB Marshon Lattimore (DNP – Abdomen), G Andrus Peat (Limited – Chest), RT Ryan Ramczyk (Limited – Rest/Knee), WR Michael Thomas (DNP – Foot), G Calbin Throckmorton (Full – Hip), TE Adam Trautman (DNP – Ankle), DE Payton Turner (Full – Chest), QB Jameis Winston (Full – Back/Ankle).


WEATHER REPORT:

Although Caesars Superdome is an indoor venue, the weather in “The Big Easy” this Sunday will be partly cloudy with a forecasted temperature of 72 degrees and a 15% chance of rain. If you’re headed to Nawlins for the game and to party, expect it to be muggy outside.

 

The Raiders will next travel to NOLA for a battle with the New Orleans Saints–their second interconference contest of the 2022 season. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 30, with a 10:00 am kickoff, and can be seen locally on Fox 5 (radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

 

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Gabe on Twitter & Instagram at @gps_onthemic

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