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Versus: Get your popcorn ready for two dynamic running backs squaring off against one another

Let the good times roll.

Coming off a 38-20 victory over the Houston Texans, the Silver and Black will travel to Louisiana to face the New Orleans Saints. The last time the two teams met was in the Raiders' debut game inside of Allegiant Stadium in 2020, with the home team pulling out the win, 34-24. While both teams have new head coaches and new systems in place since their last matchup, a lot is still the same for both franchises, comprised of star players such as Maxx Crosby, Derek Carr, Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis.

Here are three key matchups to follow for the Raiders' Week 8 road trip.

Josh Jacobs vs. Alvin Kamara

The one thing that's been successful for both the Raiders and the Saints this season has been getting the ball to their running back.

Josh Jacobs has entered uncharted waters over the last three games, with 441 rushing yards and six touchdowns in that stretch. He's the first running back in franchise history to rush for over 140 yards in three straight games and has rushed for the most rushing yards in his first 50 games in franchise history. Jacobs and the Raiders now face a Saints defense that's allowed 123.1 rushing yards per game this season, the 11th most in the NFL.

The Saints have a running back the same caliber of Jacobs in Alvin Kamara. The five-time Pro Bowler is as versatile as it gets, with 542 total scrimmage yards this season. The last encounter the Raiders had with the Saints running back was in the Allegiant Stadium opener in the 2020 season, where Kamara finished with 174 total scrimmage yards on 22 touches and two rushing touchdowns.

"[T]his guy breaks a lot of tackles and doesn't go down easily, that's a big part of his game in my opinion and has been since I've been watching him at Tennessee and then when he got in the league," defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said of Kamara. "You try to tackle him, he has pretty good balance and he can bounce off tackles. Obviously, the speed jumps off the tape and then the fact that they are able to use him in both the run and pass game...

"He could be in the backfield, he can be out wide, they can put him anywhere. They can put him at wildcat quarterback, they can do anything. You've got to prepare for that stuff."

The two explosive backs will make for a heavyweight clash in Caesars Superdome.

Thayer Munford Jr. vs. Cameron Jordan

The Raiders' rookie tackle's biggest challenge to date may come this Sunday in New Orleans.

Munford Jr. has played some meaningful snaps this season as a depth piece. Last Sunday against the Texans, his number was called early when Jermaine Eluemunor went down with an injury and Munford delivered. The former Ohio State Buckeye didn't allow a hurry or pressure in his 43 snaps played, according to Pro Football Focus, and finished the game with the highest overall grade among the Raiders offensive linemen (79.1).

"He's kind of found a little niche here at tackle for us, in terms of trying to develop as a player," offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi said. "I think I've brought it up to you guys numerous times here with any young player – and especially linemen – they try and come in here and they try and just figure things out. ... That's the best they can do because every day is a new day, right? Every opponent they've never faced before. Every defensive end or defensive tackle, they've never faced before. So, they're learning something every day."

While Eluemunor's injury status up in the air, Munford could be in line to see some action against All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan. Not many edge rushers in the NFL today have the resume of Jordan, who over his 12-year NFL career has totaled 111.5 career sacks. The 33-year-old leads the Saints in tackles for loss (eight) and is second on the team in sacks (4.5).

"He's a great football player. Great leader," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said, giving praise to Jordan. "Almost never comes out of the game, which is unbelievable. We've played him a number of times and every time you ask the same question, 'Well, what percentage of the game is he playing?' And it's 98%, 99%. For a guy that's that physical, that tough, that aggressive – this guy, he's a warrior.

"He's really physical. Really good rusher. Knows all the tricks, speed to power, can spin, understand who he's rushing against. Really good run defender. He's just a very disruptive player. His production over the course of his career, it's second to none in many cases, second to only a few in others. In terms of being able to be productive over a long period of time, there's not many people that can claim the production that he has."

This may be another great test for the young tackle who's already lined up against the likes of Joey Bosa, J.J. Watt and Frank Clark this season.

Raiders defense vs. enigma at quarterback

It's hard enough preparing to play one quarterback in the NFL, let alone potentially two or three.

The Silver and Black are still uncertain what quarterback they'll be facing this Sunday, as the Saints have not named a starter between Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston. Winston was the Saints starter coming into the season before a back and ankle injury sidelined him after Week 3. Before the former Heisman winner was injured, he threw for 858 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. Once Dalton took the reins as the starter, he accumulated 946 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

"We'll see where we're at," New Orleans Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen said Monday of the QB decision. "I do think Jameis is getting healthier. I do think that's a discussion we have to have. I think both of those guys will have themselves ready to play. Hopefully after we get a chance to talk about it, discuss it, we'll have a good answer for what we're going to do."

You can't forget about Taysom Hill, the Saints electric tight end who has a 7-2 record when stepping in as the Saints starting quarterback in 2020 and 2021. Regardless, Patrick Graham will have his defense prepared for whomever is behind the center in New Orleans.

"Each week is difficult just in general just preparing. But we always have to take into account the backup quarterbacks when we go through the process," said Graham. "We allocate a certain amount of time for who we think is going to be the starter, then we allocate a certain amount of time for the backup because in the blink of a moment ... you never know what's going to happen. That's just the game when you are dealing with a collision sport like this.

"Again, every week is difficult. We are always preparing for whoever is on the roster. I mean, does it add a certain level of difficulty, maybe? But that's how we prepare."

View team photographer Matt Aguirre's best photos from Allegiant Stadium's catwalk during the Las Vegas Raiders' Week 7 victory against the Houston Texans.

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