Kenyan Drake, Josh Jacobs Crucial for the Raiders in Week 1

Josh Jacobs

In 2020, the Raiders struggled to run the ball effectively. It was clear during the off-season; improving this aspect of the offense was on Jon Gruden’s mind. The Raiders added free agent running back Kenyan Drake and great run blocking rookie right tackle Alex Leatherwood. Although the offense produced all year last season, icing games and establishing the run were issues all season. It will be key to keep Josh Jacobs fresh in 2021, starting in Week 1. The Raiders are going to need to keep Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens off the field; they can do that by running the ball well on Monday Night.

Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake Key to Raiders Week 1 Victory

Keep Josh Jacobs Fresh

The Raiders lost four out of their last five games last season, while running back Josh Jacobs didn’t have a 100 yard effort in any of those games. The run game struggled down the stretch and so did the Raiders. With a mediocre defense, keeping offenses off the field is crucial. The Raiders hurt themselves at times last season by scoring too quickly, as bad as that sounds. Josh Jacobs only averaged 3.9 yards a carry last season and the Raiders need to improve that number. Insert Kenyan Drake, and the Raiders should be able to mix in the two backs and keep legs fresh.

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To beat the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, the Raiders will need to run the ball well, often and early. One can expect Jon Gruden to dial up plenty of run calls and look to dominate this game physically. Although the Ravens are good against the run, the Raiders will try to avoid having to beat one of the leagues best secondaries.

How Will the Carries be Split?

Fitting in with the Las Vegas theme, the Raiders will likely follow the hot-hand when establishing the lead back in football games. Josh Jacobs has earned his role, but the Raiders didn’t pay Kenyan Drake to sit on the bench, he will play a vital role in the team’s success.

The “Drake and Josh” combination, should see 30-35 carries on Monday Night Football as the Raiders attempt to upset the Baltimore Ravens. Predicting that split right now seems impossible and completely dependent on who is running well. It’s also worth noting that Josh Jacobs hasn’t had a full practice all week, which may lead to more Kenyan Drake, for at least Monday Night.

The Raiders Offense as a Whole

The Raiders offense as a whole will need a good game to be victorious on Monday. With the addition of Drake, a revamped offensive line and an extremely young wide receiver room, the Raiders have plenty of questions. However, Jon Gruden has never had a problem dialing up the offense. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders can move the ball against a top 10 defense in the NFL.

Obviously, Darren Waller will be the key to success once again, but can they mix in enough Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs to keep the ball moving? Those two along with Hunter Renfrow complete one of the more interesting units in football, because nobody has any clue how this will shake out in 2021. If the Raiders can establish the run and get enough out of their receivers, expect them to be highly successful throughout the season.

How will the Game Play Out?

The Raiders will come in running the ball, and have the occasional big play. They should be able to put some points on the board. The big question comes on the defensive part of the ball, will they have enough new talent to stop Lamar Jackson and company?

Prediction: Raiders-31 Ravens-23

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