Raiders football is finally back! Jon Gruden’s return kicks off with a Monday Night Football special against the Los Angeles Rams. This will be quite the test for Derek Carr and company on Monday. Oakland will go against a dominating defense, led by newly signed defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Plus, an offense that scored the most points in the NFL in 2017. For the Raiders to win this tough game against head coach Sean McVay and Rams, Gruden and his team will need to accomplish these three keys.
Control the clock and tempo
Offensively, the Rams appear stacked. From Todd Gurley and Jared Goff to wide receiver weapons like Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Thus, a great way to slow these guys down is by running the ball effectively, As a result, this keeps them off the field as much as possible. That is easier said than done, since Donald and free agent signee Ndamukong Suh lurk on the defensive front. Nevertheless, Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders solid offensive line will need to put their hard hats on. Play calling will also be key to the tempo of the game. Hopefully Offensive Coordinator Greg Olsen has evolved since his last stint with the Raiders.
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Limit the turnovers
Similar to the first key, giving the Rams more opportunities is not smart. Therefore, Derek Carr must limit the mental mistakes. Plus, he needs to avoid errant passes versus this talented secondary of the Rams. Olsen can use quick screens and crossing patterns to the flat to avoid the potential of a costly mistake. This will also set up the big pass play to Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, while also limiting the Rams ability to play aggressive all game long. If the Raiders have any chance of winning this game, they need to win the turnover battle.
Get off fast
As mentioned earlier, the Rams led the league in scoring last season. In addition, with the Raiders defense practically brand new personal this year, the offense will have to carry the team to victory in Oakland Week 1. Carr and the offense came out to a blistering start in 2017, and will need that type of momentum and execution against the Rams to win. Especially if the Rams show any rust to start the game (first team offense did not play in the preseason). If the Raiders offense is sluggish to start the game, this could get ugly fast.