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8 p.m. ET
After a long offseason, we’re only a few days away from the start of the 2022 NFL preseason. The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars will face off in the Hall of Fame Game.
Both teams have made major offseason acquisitions, including new players and coaching staffs. In this article, I’m banking on rust and confusion as both new offenses try to get everything worked out — specifically with their backups.
Las Vegas is coming off of a solid season, posting a 10-7 record behind Jon Gruden and Rich Bisaccia. They won’t be dealing with a coaching controversy throughout the season after hiring Josh McDaniels in the offseason.
The Raiders feature an experienced team, and there’s very little reason for them to use any starters in this game.
Although nothing’s been announced at the moment, Derek Carr will almost certainly not take a snap in this game. We can also expect playmakers Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs to sit in this game.
Las Vegas isn’t a team that needs the extra preseason game. McDaniels is too savvy of a coach to give away plays this early in the preseason. If any starters play, it will likely be limited snaps, and I’m expecting Las Vegas’ play-calling to be relatively simple in this game.
There could be a wrinkle or two, but I’m not anticipating McDaniels to show his hand at this point.
It’s been a long offseason, and defenses should have the edge over offenses this early in the preseason. Jacksonville’s defense should have a significant advantage over Las Vegas’ backups.
The Jaguars weren’t as successful as the Raiders last season, ending with a 3-14 record under Urban Meyer and Darrell Bevell. Luckily for Jacksonville fans, the Meyer fiasco is over, and Doug Peterson has taken over as the head coach.
I do believe that Peterson is more likely to make a statement in this game than McDaniels. By that, I mean I could see Jacksonville’s starters playing early in this game.
Trevor Lawrence should take a massive step forward this season, and Peterson could let him play early in this game. There have been rave reviews about Travis Etienne through training camp. The Jaguars also added Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram in free agency, adding to their offensive upside.
There’s very little reason for any of these players to see major snaps, though. If they want to show off Lawrence early in the game, it will likely only be for a drive or two, and even that seems as if it could be too much.
Overall, I’d expect this game to be filled with second, third and fourth stringers, once again giving an edge to the defenses.
We’ve consistently seen offenses struggle to knock off the rust in the Hall of Fame Game, and there’s very little reason to believe that won’t be the case again this season. Teams rarely ever play anyone of importance in the extra preseason game, and this comes down to how big of a statement Peterson wants to early in his Jacksonville tenure.
Even if Lawrence and company play a drive or two, I favor the under in this game.