Sunday’s NFL preseason schedule includes a game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings. As the home team, the Raiders are four-point favorites in this game. There is also an over/under of 34 points.
The Raiders head into Sunday’s game with the luxury of playing in the Hall of Fame last week, so they’ve already gotten their preseason schedule underway. Las Vegas took care of business against the Jaguars in a 27-11 win. That should help with the team’s confidence as the Raiders look to build on last year’s 10-7 season that took them to the playoffs.
The Vikings, on the other hand, are entering a new era with Kevin O’Connell at the helm. Minnesota missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons under Mike Zimmer, forcing a change. Of course, the Vikings now have a first-year head coach trying to improve upon last season’s 8-9 record.
With Kirk Cousins testing positive for COVID this week, he’s been ruled out of Sunday’s game, forcing Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond to get all of the snaps.
Mannion is a veteran backup who should be able to lead the offense during a preseason game, while Mond is a second-year quarterback who offers some athleticism. The caveat is the Vikings may not want to risk the health of stars like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, limiting the number of playmakers around Mannion and Mond.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings could give their starters more snaps than usual with a new coordinator and a new scheme.
On paper, the Minnesota defense has some serious talent, especially at the linebacker position, which could make the Vikings stingy early in the game. Minnesota’s draft class was also defensive-heavy, with five players taken in the first five rounds, all part of the second-string unit.
Building on a Win
While Derek Carr didn’t play in the preseason opener last week, he could see a little action this week. Without him, the Raiders still racked up over 300 yards of offense and were turnover-free against the Jacksonville defense. The Raiders also have Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens as the team’s backup quarterbacks, so the Las Vegas offense should be in good hands all night.
Defensively, the Raiders looked strong last week, albeit against Jacksonville’s backups.
The Las Vegas defense had five defended passes and held the Jags to just 59 rushing yards and 5.3 yards per pass through the air. Despite some injuries on that side of the ball that could force the Raiders to dig deeper into their depth chart, the Las Vegas defense has a strong veteran presence.
The oddsmakers in Vegas have made the hometown team the favorites in this game, and for a good reason. Even if Carr doesn’t play, the Raiders look a little more stable at the quarterback position, especially since Minnesota’s second-string defense will be filled with rookies.
With the Raiders playing last week, they should be a little sharper and less prone to mistakes, which should be enough for Las Vegas to win and cover on Sunday.
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