While it is difficult to predict the result of any football game, a preseason game provides additional issues in determining the final score. Head coaches often do not reveal much of their playbook in the preseason, allow their starters only a short period of playing time, and rotate through a variety of lineups. That being said, there are still available patterns that can be analyzed and interpreted.
The Minnesota Vikings, in their last 15 preseason games have accumulated an average record of 8-7. However, with new leadership, led by new head coach Kevin O’Connell, different strategies may be implemented during the preseason. The Rams, where O’Connell previously coached and had success, lost most of their latest preseason games, with a record of 6-9. Such results hint towards the idea that O’Connell may aim to implement less creative schemes and heavily limit the playing time of the starters. Furthermore, with starting quarterback Kirk Cousins inactive due to COVID, and a weak quarterback room outside of him, the Vikings offense will be limited in this initial preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders, similarly, have won eight preseason games in their last 15, though Las Vegas also has a new head coach, Josh McDaniels, arriving from New England. The Patriots, with McDaniels as offensive coordinator, have earned an improved record of 10-5 in recent preseason history. With a very strong 27-11 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in this year’s Hall of Fame game, and a generally victorious trend in preseason games, the Raiders led by McDaniels appear to be the favorites in this matchup against the Vikings.
As a result, considering the mindset and beliefs of McDaniels and O’Connell in regards to the preseason, as well as the absence of Kirk Cousins, the Raiders will dominate this matchup, winning by a score of 26-10.