The Denver Broncos visit the Oakland Raiders in Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
PFFELO Ranking: 26
Coverage by: Daniel Cohen
Matchup: Denver Broncos offense vs. Oakland Raiders defense
- WR Emmanuel Sanders vs. CB Sean Smith – Sanders came back down to earth against the Cincinnati Bengals last week after posting 137 yards the week before. This week he’ll be up against Smith, who has done a good job limiting targets into his coverage. He averages 8.6 coverage snaps per target, 11th best among cornerbacks with at least 150 coverage snaps. Sanders is the top graded receiver on the Broncos to this point, having earned a grade of 76.4, ranked tied for 39th among 115 receivers. He’ll see if he can win this matchup with quarterback-friendly underneath routes against the tall, longer cornerback.
- T Garett Bolles vs. Edge Bruce Irvin – The rookie tackle will take on Irvin this week, who rushes on Bolles’ side 82.9 percent of the time. Bolles hasn’t been great in recent weeks, allowing exactly three pressures in each of the past five games. He has graded below average in three straight games now as he looks to get back on track against Irvin, who failed to record a single pressure last week. Irvin has just 17 pressures this year on 211 pass-rush snaps, and his pass-rush grade of 49.3 ranks 92nd of 106 edge defenders.
- RB C.J. Anderson vs. LB NaVorro Bowman – Anderson was out-snapped last week by Devontae Booker, however he still recorded 13 carries and found the end zone for the first time since Week 2. He leads the Broncos running backs in yards after contact per attempt with 3.11, and getting him into a rhythm will help take the pressure off QB Paxton Lynch. Bowman has been subpar to this point with his new team, however he has been tougher against the run than in coverage. His run-defense grade of 70.2 ranks 43rd of 91 linebackers, though last week he failed to record a stop for the first time all season.
PFFELO Ranking: 22
Coverage by: Mike Guerrelli
Matchup: Oakland Raiders offense vs. Denver Broncos defense
- RB Marshawn Lynch vs. S Darian Stewart – With the strong pass-rushers and coverage players on Denver’s defense, Oakland should look to establish the running game in this matchup. Lynch is coming off a season high 92.0 game grade against the Patriots that led all running backs in Week 11. Despite having only 12 touches, he forced four missed tackles and had 3.0 yards after contact per attempt. Stewart is tied for the lead among safeties this season with 15 run stops, and is fourth with a 6.5 percent run-stop percentage. He’s PFF’s 72nd ranked safety with a 48.4 overall grade, but is 21st at safety with an 80.8 run-defense grade. Lynch was held in check in the Week 4 game against Denver, with only nine carries and 1.67 yards after contact per attempt.
- WR Michael Crabtree vs. CB Aqib Talib – Crabtree missed the Week 4 meeting between these two teams with a chest injury. Raiders receivers have struggled with drops this season, including Crabtree with five through Week 11. However, he leads the team with six touchdowns and a 103.0 passer rating when targeted. Talib is PFF’s 13th ranked cornerback this year with an 85.7 overall grade. He’s only allowed 229 yards receiving in 332 snaps in coverage, and is fifth among cornerbacks with 0.69 yards per cover snap. Talib gave up just two catches for 12 yards in the game with Oakland earlier this season.
- T Marshall Newhouse vs. Edge Von Miller – Newhouse has allowed five sacks and 20 total pressures in 272 pass-block attempts this season, and is ranked 48th of 82 offensive tackles in PFF pass blocking efficiency (pressure allowed per-snap with weighting toward sacks). Miller is the top-ranked edge defender this year with a 92.9 overall PFF grade, and is second with 52 total pressures. Newhouse was solid in this matchup in Week 4, allowing just one sack and no other pressures in 22 pass-block snaps against Miller, and no pressures in 16 additional pass-block snaps.. There remains some question as to whether or not Newhouse will be able to suit up however.