Saints vs. Raiders Series History
The New Orleans Saints play their first road game of the 2020 season, traveling to take on the Las Vegas Raiders in a prime time affair on Monday Night Football. Both teams come into the game 1-0 after opening day victories. The Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-23 at home, while Las Vegas emerged with a 34-30 road thriller over the Carolina Panthers.
The Saints visit will be the first home game for the Raiders, ever, in a new stadium and new city. This is just the 14th meeting between New Orleans and the Raiders franchise, with the series tied 6-6-1 and the teams splitting a 3-3 record when the Saints play them on the road. The Saints own a 4-3-1 record against the nomadic Raiders when they were located in Oakland (3-1 on the road) but were just 2-3 (0-2 away) against them when they were Los Angeles residents.
The first-ever meeting between these two was on November 7, 1971, in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Saints' two 4th quarter touchdowns brought them from behind, but the game would end in a 21-21 tie. The Saints first played the Raiders on the road on November 9, 1975, in Oakland. A powerful Raider squad rolled up over 500 yards of total offense and scored five unanswered touchdowns through the middle of the game to pull away to a 48-10 victory.
One of the most inglorious moments in New Orleans franchise history occurred when these two teams met for the first time in the Louisiana Superdome on December 3, 1979, the only other time these teams played on a Monday night. The Saints rolled out to a 28-7 second-quarter lead, but critical defensive breakdowns and three New Orleans turnovers in the second half helped the Raiders to a 42-35 victory in front of a national audience.
New Orleans wouldn't record a road win against the Raiders until October 23, 1988, when they were located in Los Angeles. The Saints outscored L.A. 17-0 in the second half to pound out a 20-6 win at home, and their first-ever victory over the Raiders. New Orleans would notch their first win in Oakland on November 9, 1997, scoring ten points in the fourth quarter to come away with a 13-10 victory. That was the first of three consecutive road wins by the Saints over the Raiders, all in Oakland. The last of which was a 38-17 triumph on November 18, 2012.
Saints coach Sean Payton and Raiders coach Jon Gruden are close friends and once served on the same coaching staff together. Payton's first NFL coaching job was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997, when he served as quarterbacks coach under their offensive coordinator, Jon Gruden. Payton has a 3-3 record against Gruden as head coach when Gruden was leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2006 to 2008. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is 2-1 against the Raiders since joining the Saints, throwing 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions in those three meetings. The last game between the Raiders and Saints was September 11, 2016, in New Orleans. Despite 423 yards passing and 4 touchdowns from Brees, New Orleans would lose a 35-34 shootout.
This game has the potential for those same kinds of offensive fireworks. Even with the absence of All-Pro WR Michael Thomas with an ankle injury, Brees has plenty of weapons and a dominant offensive line in front of him. Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, and Emmanuel Sanders are just a few of the offensive threats that will look to put up numbers against a suspect Raiders secondary. Defensively, the Saints played aggressively against a loaded Tampa Bay offense and will look to do the same against Raiders QB Derek Carr and a Las Vegas offense with nice talent at the skill positions.
I expect Brees and the offense to be much sharper after a sloppy performance against the Bucs last week. The Raiders have a stud running back in Josh Jacobs, an underrated tight end in Darren Waller, and an explosive young wideout with Henry Ruggs. Few teams pressure an offensive backfield as well as New Orleans, led by DE Cameron Jordan. That pressure allows a talented Saints defensive backfield to take chances on the back end for a defense determined to be among the best in the league.