The Raiders have their home opener this week and have multiple things in their favor in this matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Las Vegas Raiders suffered a tough loss in week one against the Los Angeles Chargers but are moving on to their home-opener against the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams enter the game 0-1, so expect them to do everything they can to avoid 0-2.
The Cardinals are coming off a beatdown courtesy of the Kansas City Cheifs in their home opener, 44-21. Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense will look to rebound from a poor performance where they only had 282 yards of offense. And the defense had an even worse performance.
So after a chaotic offseason, the Cardinals did not give their fans much to cheer for in week one.
A few things are in their favor heading into this matchup for the Raiders. So let’s take a look at some of those advantages and give some reasons the Raiders should win this game and avoid a disappointing loss.
Reasons the Las Vegas Raiders will beat the Cardinals in Week 2
Arizona’s suspect secondary
Derek Carr played one of his worst games in recent memory and will need a bounce-back performance. And the Arizona Cardinals could be the perfect remedy.
The Cardinals’ defense was one of the worst units in week one giving up nearly 500 yards of total offense and 33 first downs to the Cheifs. The secondary, in particular, was torched the entire game, so Carr should be able to have plenty of success. Only one player (Marco Wilson) in the Arizona secondary allowed a passer rating under 100 last week.
Davante Adams should be able to have another great game, but Darren Waller should be the focus on Sunday. The Cardinals had no answer for Travis Kelce in week one, and if the Raiders at any point see Arizona’s Isaiah Simmons matched up one-on-one with Waller, they need to throw him the ball.
The passing game should have a huge day if the Raiders can avoid the self-inflicted wounds.
Mountain of Injuries
The Raiders suffered their fair share of injuries in week one, but the Cardinals also have multiple injury concerns. JJ Watt did not play last week and is hopeful of playing on Sunday, but either way, he will not be 100%. Safety Jalen Thompson, who was second on the team in tackles last week, has not practiced, according to the team’s website, so a bad secondary is losing one of its better players. Macro Wilson is listed with an ankle injury and was the only corner that played decent against Kansas City. Former Raiders Trayvon Mullen is also injured and is likely out.
On offense, Ronald Moore and Justin Pugh are both uncertain for Sunday. So the injuries are piling up early to start the season for Arizona.
We discussed the injuries, but the most significant loss for this team is the suspension of DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the entire league and was the focal point of the Cardinals’ passing game. They have no one to replicate his skillset, and the offense plummets when he’s not on the field.
The team went 1-4 when Hopkins got hurt last season, and their points per game went from 30.2 with him to 19.75 without him.
And despite having the entire offseason to prepare for life without Hopkins, they looked lost again on Sunday. If the Raiders’ defense plays like they did in the second half of their Chargers game, they should be able to contain this Arizona offense.
Must avoid 0-2
Both teams enter this game 0-1 and will need to get back on track if they hope to go back to the playoffs. With the added playoff spot, this will probably become a little easier over time, but at the moment, starting 0-2 does not bode well for teams.
According to stathead, 265 teams have started 0-2 since 1990, and only 30 have made the playoffs. That is only 11%, so even though it is early, this is a borderline must-win game. The Raiders play in a very competitive division and can not afford to slip up in games where they have the better team.
In their home opener, the Las Vegas Raiders take on the Arizona Cardinals, and here are some things to watch in the matchup.
It will be interesting to see how this team starts the game and if Josh McDaniels has them mentally focused. The Gruden era was marked by games where the Raiders would come out sloppy and unprepared against teams they should beat. That cannot happen this week because if it does, history says they probably won’t dig themselves out of this hole.