Game Overview ::
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- Both teams rank in the bottom 12 in first half pace of play, with the Saints jumping to ninth overall (26.91 seconds per play) due to routinely negative game script and the Raiders content to slow things down at 22nd overall (28.56 seconds per play).
- New Orleans ranks seventh in net drive success rate (DSR) while Las Vegas ranks 20th (LV also has one of the largest deltas in DSR in the league at 4th in offensive DSR and 30th in defensive DSR).
- Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Adam Trautman, and Marshon Lattimore remained DNPs to start the week for the Saints. As we’ve discussed in this space before, a DNP to start the week following a missed game (or games) does not historically bode well for a return to action.
- Darren Waller returned to a limited session on Wednesday following a missed game and the team’s bye week.
How las vegas Will Try To Win ::
The Raiders lead the league in yards created by their offensive line, blocking to a 5.69 adjusted line yards metric (first), 73% power success rate (seventh), 11% stuffed rate (second), and 1.78 second level yards (first). It makes sense that they have done what they can to slow games down considering the dominance of their offensive line, checking in with 22nd overall pace of play and 27th-ranked first half pace of play. They started the season with a pass rate over expectation (PROE) above the NFL average in Week 1 but have been at or below league average in each subsequent week. Even with that, their 61.31% overall pass rate ranks in the middle of the league at 14th. That said, their pass rate over the previous three weeks falls all the way down to 51.89% but their pass rate on the road stands at a lofty 68.36%, which would rank as the top overall value this season (ahead of the Bucs). It seems some bug is running through the team this week as four players missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness, including wide receiver Davante Adams. Also notable was the return to a limited practice for tight end Darren Waller after being held out of action through the team’s Week 6 bye and into Week 7 after injuring his hamstring in Week 5. In all, I’d expect the team to continue riding the run game for as long as it is working moving forward, which helps to hide a defense getting run over (30th in defensive DSR).
The Las Vegas backfield has turned into a Jacobs workhorse situation as the unquestioned lead back has surged to account for an average of 83.33% of the offensive snaps and 28 running back opportunities over the previous three weeks. Brandon Bolden remained active in Week 7 but didn’t see an offensive snap, with the team instead utilizing Ameer Abdullah and Zamir White sparingly behind Jacobs. Fullback Jakob Johnson typically sees between 30-40% of the offensive snaps for a team utilizing 21-personnel at one of the highest rates in the league. The pure rushing matchup yields an absolutely absurd 5.11 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Saints defense surrendering a robust 4.75 yards per running back carry this season.
Davante Adams has been in a route on 100% of the passing plays for the Raiders this year, tied with Justin Jefferson for the league lead (duh). His 32.0% team target market share ranks fourth in the league, while his 41.9% red zone target market share leads the league by a wide margin. Darren Waller returned to a limited session on Wednesday but has seen his snap rate and involvements scaled back this season (poor 73.0% route participation rate, 14.0% team target market share, and 17.8% targets per route run rate). Hunter Renfrow is sadly in the same bucket, with a 20.5% targets per route run rate and an 18.4% team target market share. Basically, this pass game has transformed into “Davante Adams and then everyone else,” on top of the newfound focus on the run game. That leaves very little meat on the bone for all of Waller, Renfrow, and WR3 Mack Hollins. The matchup against the Lattimore-less Saints is a good one as the Saints haven’t largely altered their defensive game plan, sticking right above league average in man coverage rates through Lattimore’s absence.
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