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Game Preview: Raiders vs Panthers

The Las Vegas Raiders are about to make their debut after relocating to Nevada, as they prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers on the road in Week 1. Speaking of debuts, the Panthers will parade their shiny new quarterback in this game, with Teddy Bridgewater under center.

The Raiders are still on the Derek Carr boat, but it may not be too long from now before they quit on the quarterback. Last season, the Raiders got 4,054 passing yards and 21 touchdowns plus eight interceptions from Carr, who has a new backup who can threaten his job, as Las Vegas signed a new signal-caller in former Tennessee Titans starter Marcus Mariota. (Mariota is on the injured reserve list, however, due to a pectoral strain injury.) But the Raiders also got Carr some help via the draft, as they selected Alabama product Henry Ruggs to add some fire to the team’s passing attack. Last season, the Raiders were eighth in the league in passing yards per game (245.4) but just 22nd in red zone touchdown scoring percentage (52.83). Then there’s running back Josh Jacobs, who had 1,150 rushing yards and seven rushing scores in 2019. He could have fun this coming Sunday against Carolina’s defense that ranked just 29th against the run. On defense, the Raiders added the likes of Prince Amukamara and Damarious Randall to their secondary.

The Raiders are 2-0 against the spread in their last two games.

What a ride it has been for Teddy Bridgewater who parlayed his stint with the New Orleans Saints last year into a starting gig for the Panthers, who are hoping he could deliver right away for the team. Last year, Bridgewater passed for 1,384 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions across nine appearances, including five starts when Drew Brees was sidelined with an injury. In those five starts, the Saints went undefeated, thus improving Bridgewater’s free agency stock. In Carolina, Bridgewater will enjoy having do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey around him. McCaffrey rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019 and also finished second on the team behind DJ Moore with 1,005 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Panthers spent lots of their picks in the past draft on defensive pieces, especially with Luke Kuechly gone. The Panthers selected Derrick brown in the first round of the draft then followed that move up by getting Yetur Gross-Matos in the second round.

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