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Three Big Things: Raiders Week

A look at the top storylines for Sunday's game



The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium:

Chandler Jones Vs. Hump, And Kyler, And …

The Cardinals offense did not play as well as it wanted the first game, but now it gets to try it against a familiar face. Not Maxx Crosby – who will still be a pass-rushing problem – but Chandler Jones, who is a Raider after six years with the Cards. Jones was sackless in his Las Vegas debut, and you know he desperately wants to show the Cardinals they made a mistake in letting him leave in free agency. So he'll go against his friend D.J. Humphries, who will be blocking him, trying to tackle his friend Kyler Murray, who will be scrambling away from him. The Cardinals have a lot of things they need to accomplish Sunday on the offensive side of the ball, but one of the main things is to not let Jones wreck their afternoon.

The Cardinals Defense Better Be Up And Adams

There wasn't much redeeming about how the Cardinals played defense in the opener. Whether it was communication, attention to detail, or simply the entire operation going sideways, no team is going to win in the NFL giving up 44 points. Derek Carr is no Patrick Mahomes, but he's still pretty good. Tight end Darren Waller isn't quite Travis Kelce, but he's close. And wide receiver Davante Adams … well, he's probably the best receiver in the league right now. Meanwhile, the Cardinals don't look like they will have safety Jalen Thompson, one of their better pieces. A return of J.J. Watt would help. Getting to Carr by Markus Golden or Zach Allen would help. Better overall play from Isaiah Simmons would help. The Cardinals can only get better from here. But they need to be a lot better.

What Happens In Vegas Doesn't Stay In Vegas

Last year is last year, but the Cardinals did win eight of nine games on the road a season ago. Winning away from home seems crucial in Week 2. But here's the thing: Whatever happens will carry with it reverberations far beyond a single weekend in Sin City. A loss, and the Cardinals have an 0-2 start and a hole that historically tough to climb from when it comes to the postseason. A win, and the narrative shifts, especially with the defending Super Bowl champion Rams coming to Arizona the following game.