The Los Angeles Rams will travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders in the second of two Monday night games this opening weekend. Oakland has had a busy off-season in which they made several big moves including the hiring of John Gruden to a 10 year 100 million dollar contract to be head coach. Gruden is a Super Bowl winning coach who is returning to Oakland where he coached from 1998 to 2001. The Raiders also traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for draft picks. Mack was one of the best defenders in the league and his loss will certainly be felt. The Rams enter the season as the defending NFC West champions and expectations are very high for this team. Second year coach Sean Mcvay has an explosive offense, which is led by the reigning Offensive player of the year in Todd Gurley. The Rams also secured their top defenseman when they signed lineman Aaron Donald to a six year 135 million dollar contract.

Gurley is just 1 of several weapons quarterback Jared Goff will have at his disposal as they picked up receiver Brandin Cooks in the offseason to make this offense even better. Cooks had 1,082 receiving yards to along with 7 touchdowns last year with the Patriots. Goff is coming off an impressive season which seen him throw for over 3,800 yards with 28 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions while making the Pro Bowl. Defensively they are starting 2 new cornerbacks in Marcus Peters from the Chiefs and Aquib Talib from the Broncos. Overall last year, the Rams defense finished 17th in the league with 338.7 yards allowed per game.

Derrick Carr returns for Oakland to lead the offense during the Gruden era. Carr is in his 5th year and is looking to bounce back after coming off a poor season in which he threw just 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. To make it worse, he had just signed a record NFL Contract worth 125 million over 5 years. The whole offense played poorly last year including receiver Amari Cooper who caught just 48 passes for 680 yards and 7 touchdowns. They didn’t have much success running the ball either as they finished 25th in the league with a combined 1,554 yards. Marshawn Lynch has been limited this preseason with injuries and his status for this game is still not certain. He is recovering from a groin injury and if he is cleared to play he will not be at 100 percent.

Oakland has home field advantage for this matchup and will be 4.5-point underdogs. Besides re-signing Donald, the Rams also signed Ndamukong Suh to a 1-year deal worth 14 million after being released by the Miami Dolphins. This could be the last year season opener in Oakland for the Raiders before moving to Las Vegas so expect the crowd at Alameda Stadium to be rocking. This game is going to come down to whether or not the Raiders defense can stop the Rams powerful offense without Khalil Mack.

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