The Las Vegas Raiders head into their second preseason contest hoping to build on their 27-13 win last week, with a date upcoming against the Minnesota Vikings. It’s time to make some bold predictions for this Raiders preseason bout.
The Silver and Black took part in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, to start the 2022 preseason. There, they met the Jacksonville Jaguars in a showdown that featured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Travon Walker, and the electrifying rookie running back Zamir White.
Through most of the contest, Las Vegas looked unstoppable. Jarrett Stidham took control while fighting to earn the QB2 job and looked like a man with something to prove all the way through.
After a dominant win, the team is hoping to keep that momentum rolling as the Vikings come to town. Can the Raiders fend off Minnesota, or will the Vikings start the preseason 1-0 just like Las Vegas had done?
What will happen in this matchup of gladiators? Here are two bold predictions on what we might see during Sunday’s showdown between the Raiders and Vikings.
*Watch NFL games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*
Las Vegas Raiders Preseason Week 2 Predictions
2. Jarrett Stidham will continue to dominate
Yeah, this is about as bold as it gets, even if it’s only the preseason.
Stidham has thrown two touchdowns and four interceptions throughout his career, logging a completion percentage of only 50%. Furthermore, Stidham has a rather embarrassing career QB rating of 46.4. Despite this, the Auburn alum showed out against the Jaguars last Thursday. My guess? He’ll do the same against the Minnesota Vikings.
Really, the Raiders’ backup quarterback was magical against Jacksonville. The 8-for-15 passing won’t jump out at you, but Stidham handled pressure magnificently all game — and there was a lot of pressure.
As early as the first play of the game from scrimmage, first overall pick Travon Walker was a half-second away from recording a sack. In fact, Walker would make contact with the signal-caller after he released the ball, drawing a flag for roughing the passer. Stidham still completed his pass to Keelan Cole despite the penalty, picking up 31 yards.
The 26-year-old led both the first and second drives of the contest deep into Jacksonville territory, although both ended in a field goal. Soon, Stidham would help get the Raiders their first touchdown, although the drive would be capped off by Ameer Abdullah.
Before the half ended, Stidham found the end zone himself. On a third-down play, the quarterback not only picked up the first, but ran it in for six from 12 yards out.
.@Jarrett_Stidham called his own number 🙌
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) August 5, 2022
After a day of highlights for the former Patriot, I expect the momentum to flow into the Raiders’ next matchup against Minnesota. Look out for Stidham, because he’s here to beat Nick Mullens for the QB2 job in Las Vegas once and for all.
1. More Josh Jacobs, and not because the RB is being shopped
Expect to see Josh Jacobs make another preseason appearance, but not because the Raiders are trying to move him.
Actually, Josh McDaniels has already squashed this rumor. When Jacobs took the field during the preseason contest against Jacksonville, it became widely speculated this was to showcase the running back’s skill set for potential trade partners. The Raiders head coach shut that down earlier in the week, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport giving his assessment on the situation:
“My understanding is the Raiders are not trying to trade Josh Jacobs, not planning on trading Josh Jacobs, all of those things. This is a team that is built to win, it is a team that’s gonna be in the playoff mix, they are not looking to and do not plan to trade Josh Jacobs at all.”
Still, Jacobs should appear in a drive or two when the Raiders play against Minnesota on Sunday.
Before McDaniels completely shut down the trade rumors surrounding Jacobs, he explained why the Raiders’ RB1 was out there to begin with:
“I always think it’s good for backs to carry the ball in the preseason. There’s a lot of things that happen when you’re getting tackled and hit that you can’t simulate in practice. I think all our guys had the ball tonight. I think all our guys either caught it or were handed the ball and had to get tackled. We can’t really simulate that or rep that in practice.”
McDaniels has a point: The Raiders can’t simulate reps with willing tacklers in practice without unnecessarily risking an injury.
Given this explanation on why Jacobs played last Thursday, it makes sense that he’ll continue seeing time on the field as the preseason goes on. It’s not to showcase his skill set for a trade; it’s to shake the rust off in ways the team can’t emulate in practice.