For the second year in a row the Saints have to deal with an injury to one of their stars on offence. At the time of writing this we are still not sure if Michael Thomas will miss this weekends game @ the Raiders but it is clear if he plays he will not be 100%
IF MT doesn't play this weekend what will this mean for the Saints? Will we see a more run based approach or will we see Sean Payton draw up plays for a different number one target? The Saints still have numerous weapons they can attack with. Sanders, Cook, Smith, Harris, Kamara, Murray, Montgomery and Taysom Hill. Yes, MT would be a huge loss but we still have more than enough to score a lot of points.
Last week, the narrative was that Drew Brees has declined this off season and yes, he did look a bit off at times but this was the first real football anyone has played since January and as usual, Brees plays well when the offensive line plays well and like the Vikings game there were a few moments where that wasn't the case. When Drew was given time he was able to pick the Bucs apart and did throw a few balls over 30 yards. The Raiders front seven is not on a par with the Bucs so I am expecting to see a marked improvement on offence, potentially even without Michael Thomas.
The most impressive part of last week was the performance of the defence, its pretty clear from week one that the defence has improved on last year and again for the 44th consecutive game we have not allowed a 100 yard rusher, this is an amazing stat and the NFL record is 53 consecutive games. Make no mistake this week will see a test of that with Josh Jacobs, however, the Raiders injury report this week has been heavy on starting offensive lineman so look for the Saints to take advantage of this and stifle the run game and get to Derek Carr who is not the best when under pressure.
This is another game being played with no fans which for a number of us UK Saints fans is bad news as there was a large group of us planning on making the trip to Vegas for this game and what makes it worse for the Raiders is this game is the opener for the new spectacular looking Allegient Stadium so the Saints are not going to have to deal with all the distractions that would come from the opening of a new stadium.
Regardless of whether MT plays or not I am looking forward to this one and think the Saints win. I'm going for 34-21 Saints.
Plenty of coffee required for Tuesday morning lads and lasses!