The Raiders won't have to worry about stopping Michael Thomas on Monday.
The New Orleans Saints wide receiver won't play in Week 2 when the Raiders open Allegiant Stadium against the reigning NFC South champions. Thomas didn't practice on Thursday, Friday or Saturday after sustaining a high ankle sprain in a Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Thomas caught just three passes for 17 yards and no touchdowns in Week 1, but he was the NFL's best a year ago. He caught a career-high 149 passes for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019, winning AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, making the Pro Bowl and earning First Team All-Pro honors.
The Raiders struggled to contain receiver Robby Anderson in Week 1, allowing him to amass 114 yards on six catches and score a TD. Las Vegas had trouble stopping opposing wide receivers last season, too, allowing the ninth-most receiving yards (2,681) and the 11th-most receiving touchdowns (17) to the position in 2019.
They'll breathe a sigh of relief with Thomas out, but the Raiders still will have their hands full. Quarterback Drew Brees still has an embarrassment of riches to throw to, including running back Alvin Kamara, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Brees threw for just 160 yards and two TDs in the comforts of the Superdome, though, and taking away his security blanket plays right into the Raiders' hands.
Thomas' absence undoubtedly dims the wattage of the star power on hand for the Raiders' Las Vegas opener, even if The Killers are set to play at halftime and ESPN is set to go all-out on the broadcast.
But if the Raiders can start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2017, the Silver and Black will ensure Monday is a memorable home opener for the franchise's new era no matter whom they line up against.