NFL Monday Night Football: Raiders/Saints Preview

by Big Al Staff

NFL Monday Night Football Preview: New Orleans Saints at the Las Vegas Raiders

The second week of Monday Night Football features the debut of professional football in Las Vegas with the first-ever game to be played in the Raiders' new Allegiant Stadium. Located a block west of the Mandalay Bay and Delano hotels on Dean Martin Boulevard, the site ensures plenty of spectacular views of the Vegas strip for the televised audience.

Las Vegas won their opening game of the season last week when they defeated Carolina on the road by a 34-30 score. The Raiders may be without their star wide receiver as well with rookie Henry Ruggs III questionable with the knee injury he incurred moments before the end of the first half last week.

The Raiders will be one of the teams without any fans in the crowd with Governor Steve Sisolak decreeing that their home games will not allow attendees for the entire season. Head coach Jon Gruden has added that his team has only stepped in Allegiant Stadium twice so playing this game will be a new experience for them. With the absence a cheering home crowd, it will be interesting to see if the new representatives of Las Vegas will establish any home advantage this season. Gruden has commented on the need for his team to represent their new fans in Las Vegas in a building that has already been nicknamed the Death Star for its black exterior.

New Orleans is the visiting team for this inaugural game with the Saints coming off a 34-23 victory at home against Tampa Bay last week. The Saints will be without Michael Thomas for this game with him being out a few weeks with a high ankle injury. The star wide receiver caught 149 passes last season for 1725 yards with nine touchdowns. 

Despite these teams coming off victories last week, they were both outgained by their opponents. The Saints used three takeaways to overcome being outgained by 39 yards to the Buccaneers. The Panthers gained 388 yards against the Raiders' defense which was 16 yards fewer than the 372 yards Las Vegas gained on offense.

Prior to the season, NFL teams were 8-8 straight-up when playing their first game in a new stadium. This record for home NFL teams debuting a new home stadium is now 9-9 after the two games played at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles in the last two weeks. The Rams defeated Dallas for the Sunday night game in Week 1 by a 20-17 score in their of their new digs. The Chargers lost in overtime to Kansas City on Sunday this week by a 23-20 score in their first opportunity to call SoFi Stadium their shared home.

Raiders’ backers can point to the winning record of NFL teams playing their first home game after relocating from another city. These teams in the modern NFL era have a 6-3 winning record straight-up. Those six winners did have the advantage of a home crowd so playing in front of empty seats may detract from the possible edge Las Vegas would have in this game.

BookMaker has New Orleans as a 5.5-point favorite with the total set at 48.5. Kickoff is set for 8:15 PM ET on ESPN.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2020 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.