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This one seems like a no-brainer with a Raiders team that has already worked and succeeded together to some level taking on a Panthers squad in Week 1 that is still in the process of figuring itself out, so take Las Vegas and expect them to win by at least four.
Raiders -3.5 (-110)
|Raiders vs Panthers Information
|Las Vegas Raiders vs Carolina Panthers
|Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC
|Sunday, September 13, 2020; 1:00 PM ET
|How to watch
The Raiders are now located in Las Vegas, but the real gamble is whether their front office has put Jon Gruden and company in a position to win games, especially given that they are expecting QB Derek Carr to be effective targeting rookie receivers.
It won’t be long before the Carolina Panthers figure out if they solved their QB woes by signing journeyman Teddy Bridgewater to be their starter under center, but at least they are counting on a leader who is now healthy and has proven himself a winner in the past.
This game will break the series tie between these two NFL franchises, both 3-3 against each other, with their last meetup happening during the 2016 season ending with a 35-32 Raiders win in Oakland.
The Raiders drafted well in 2020, successfully adding quality and depth to their receiver corps by snagging former Alabama star Henry Ruggs III and former South Carolina playmaker Bryan Edwards, both rookies expected to contribute right away.
QB Derek Carr is consistent and accurate, having posted a 70.4 completion percentage last season and a 68.9 the year before, so he can definitely get the ball to his receivers accurately.
Carr is on the fourth year of the five-year contract extension he received in June of 2017 which gave him $125 million in total with $40 million of that guaranteed, so this will be a season where he has to reprove his worth to the front office if he expects to stick around in Vegas much longer.
Anyone who has followed Teddy Bridgewater’s NFL career knows that if it weren’t for serious injury, he would still most likely be the starter for the Vikings, but that ended once he tore his ACL in 2016 and had to sit out for 19 months.
As the backup for the Saints, Bridgewater proved he could get the job done, playing in 9 games and starting 5 of those games last season when Drew Brees went down with an injury to his thumb.
Bridgewater’s 2019 stats as the backup in New Orleans are hopeful – he completed 133-of-196 for 1,384 yards and 9 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions for a completion percentage of 67.9 and a passer rating of 99.1.
As a rookie, last season, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs impressed the front office by recording 242 carries for 1,150 yards and 7 touchdowns while also catching 20 passes for another 166 offensive yards.
The Raiders will need Jacobs to repeat his rookie numbers in 2020, since that solid running and receiving threat from out of the backfield helps draw opposing defenses away from the team’s receivers.
Jacobs will benefit from a decent offensive line, including a left-side anchored by tackle Kolton Miller and guard Richie Incognito.
Arguably one of the best athletes in the league, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is a key to Carolina’s offensive success in 2020 and beyond.
Last season, dual-threat McCaffrey posted 403 touches for 2,392 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns, numbers that led the league in 2019.
QB Bridgewater will benefit directly from having McCaffrey in the backfield with him, though their chemistry could still be a bit wobbly in Week 1 since the preseason was such a shaky one for the entire league.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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