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Saints @ Raiders: Key matchups include Marshon Lattimore against the speedy Ruggs

The Raiders and Saints both started 1-0. Which position groups are crucial for their team to garner a 2-0 start?

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints battle the Las Vegas Raiders in the brand new Allegiant Stadium. Raiders will have quite the new look team to go along with their Las Vegas playground. 2020 newcomers-Henry Ruggs, Corey Littleton, and Damon Arnette have all showed noticeable contributions in the Week 1 outing at Carolina. All faces that weren’t there a season ago.

As for the road team, New Orleans Saints. This loaded roster also has more playmakers than a season ago. Late addition in the 2019 season, Janoris Jenkins, had himself a pick six against Tom Brady. Malcolm Jenkins had a nice PBU right before half-time. Then Emmanuel Sanders had himself a nice touchdown grab to start the year off strong.

With all the talent coming from both teams, where are the deciding matchups between the two ball clubs? Let’s take a look.

Tre ’Quan Smith vs Damon Arnette:

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 1, The Panthers No. two wide receiver, Robby Anderson had himself a day against Raiders rookie corner, Damon Arnette. Robby Anderson clocked in 6 receptions, 114 yards, and one touchdown. The Saints third year receiver, Tre’Quan Smith, needs to be licking his chops headed into this one.

It may seem anticipated that Taysom Hill, Jared Cook, and Alvin Kamara, will have an increased role, with the injury to Michael Thomas. That may be the case, and the main weapons should get a higher dose of game plan action.

Nonetheless, Smith will be seeing the field a lot more in the No. two wide receiver role, and he will be facing a matchup that Drew Brees will want to attack.

Smith needs to have a strong 2020 season and show that he can be a reliable player for the full-season and playoffs. If Saints can get Smith going with Sanders and Thomas, this will help Drew Brees be more efficient in his remaining days.

Marshon Lattimore vs Henry Ruggs

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

If the Saints are going to get upset in this contest, it will come from a few splash plays. The likely consultant to those plays will be Henry Ruggs. The first round pick at wide receiver for Las Vegas.

The rookie Ruggs, is the No. one wide receiver for Las Vegas. He will be going up against Saints No. one corner, Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore didn’t allow one catch the elite wide receiver, Mike Evans, just a week ago. He will have another challenge against Ruggs in Week 2.

Ruggs hauled in a beautiful 45-yard catch last Sunday. He finished the game with a modest 3 catches, for 55 receiving yards, but his 4.27 speed was in evident on his long catch and it was just a glimpse of the damage he can cause against opposing secondaries.

Lattimore knows that his run defense will do another good job for the 100th time in a row, so he can’t allow a big catches from his No. one enemy to keep the hungry Raiders squad in this Monday Night Showdown.

Maxx Crosby against Terron Armstead

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders best defensive player and arguably the best player on both sides of the ball, needs to have a big game if they want to edge out New Orleans. Maxx Crosby, that is. The second-year pass rusher had 10 sacks a year ago, and he needs to take that prominent leap which most second year pass rushers take. Right J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack?

The Raiders premier pass rush will be lined up against Saints Pro-Bowl left tackle, Terron Armstead. The 2019 sack leader, Shaq Barrett, was shut down in the Saints-Buccaneers game. He didn’t record one sack to his name.

The raiders sack artist needs to win some matchups for his defense. It will be a very hard task for Crosby, because the Saints have transformed to a quick passing offense. With that, they have been explosive at the same time.

Crosby will need to succeed in limited 3rd and long situations, hustle to the ball, and get his massive arms from his 6’6 frame up to make any play possible for the underdog defense he’s representing.


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