Rams Potent Offense to Face Re-Built Raiders Defense
Monday Night Football brings down the curtain on Week 1 of the NFL regular season. One of the two games for opening week of the regular season on Monday features the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Oakland Raiders.
Oakland will be tasked with trying to stop one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. As well as that, it will be trying to find its own offense at the same time.
Oakland traded away its best defensive player Khalil Mack, who played on Sunday for his new team the Chicago Bears. The Raiders defense is going to have a hard time trying to stop Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Goff has a wide array of weapons from running back Todd Gurley II to new wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Los Angeles was able to re-sign its top defensive player Aaron Donald to a contract extension last week. Although Donald has only been with the team four days he will see action at defensive tackle on Monday. Donald leads all defensive tackles in the NFL in quarterback sacks the last four seasons with 39.
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Goff led the Rams to the best scoring average last season in the NFL at 29.9 points a game and has Gurley to lead the running game. Last season Gurley rushed for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Backup center Austin Blythe will start in place of guard Jamon Brown for the Rams while Brown serves a two-game suspension to start the season.
Rams linebacker Mark Barron sat out of practice last Thursday with an ankle problem and is marked as questionable for Monday’s season opener.
Oakland’s talented quarterback Derek Carr passed for 3,495 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2017. One of Carr’s top receivers Michael Crabtree is no longer with the Raiders, but Amari Cooper returns and Oakland added veteran Jordy Nelson, who made life easier for Aaron Rodgers for many seasons with Green Bay.
Marshawn Lynch did not practice much on Thursday due to a sore groin and may only see limited action at running back for the Raiders. However, Doug Martin, who played for Tampa Bay for several seasons and rushed for 1,400-plus yards in a season twice during his career, is a capable replacement.
On defense, the Raiders have moved linebacker Bruce Irvin to defensive end to make up for the loss of Mack. The defense is also counting on rookies Arden Key, P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst as well as Tank Carradine who was signed during the offseason.