Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Mike Guerrelli
Matchup: Oakland Raiders offense vs. Washington Redskins defense
- WRs Michael Crabtree/Amari Cooper vs. CB Bashaud Breeland – With cornerback Josh Norman locking down the left side of the Washington defense, the Raiders will try to take advantage of the matchup with Breeland on the other side. Crabtree has caught 12 of his 13 targets this season, and has the highest passer rating when targeted in the NFL at 158.3. Cooper has struggled with dropped passes this year, and his 1.56 yards per route run is 32nd of 86 wide receivers that have a minimum of 40 snaps in route. Breeland has a 67.2 overall PFF grade, which is 56th of 106 qualifying cornerbacks this season. However he’s 14th among cornerbacks in yards per cover snap in 2017 at 0.46.
- RB Jalen Richard vs. LB Zach Brown – Brown visited Oakland this offseason as a free agent, but eventually decided to sign in Washington. He is the 40th ranked linebacker of 78 qualifying with a 60.6 PFF grade this year. Brown has been hurt in coverage, allowing seven receptions on seven targets for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Richard can exploit this matchup in the passing game, as his 5.18 yards per route run leads all running backs this season that have 10-plus snaps in route. He has forced four missed tackles in only 14 touches this year.
- T Marshall Newhouse vs. EDGE Ryan Kerrigan – Newhouse won a battle with Vadal Alexander for the Raiders right tackle job, and has been effective so far this season. He has not allowed a pressure in 58 pass-block snaps in 2017, after giving up three sacks and 11 pressures in 245 pass-block attempts last year. Newhouse will be tested by Kerrigan, who is the 28th ranked edge defender of 89 qualifying with an 80.2 overall PFF grade. He has two sacks in 59 pass-rush snaps this year, and is 29th among edge defenders in PFF pass-rushing productivity (pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting toward sacks).
Coverage by: Mark Chichester
Matchup: Washington Redskins offense vs. Oakland Raiders defense
- WR Ryan Grant vs. CB Gareon Conley – Grant earned an enormous amount of praise from the coaching staff in the off-season, and their trust is leading to increased playing time for the fourth-year receiver. He’s been productive so far, and he now leads the team’s wide receiving corps in both wide receiver rating (131.3) and yards per route run (1.57). He’ll be in for a challenge against rookie cornerback Gareon Conley, who was impressive in his debut against the New York Jets last week, allowing a passer rating of just 60.4 on throws into his primary coverage.
- RT Morgan Moses vs. EDGE Khalil Mack – Moses ended the 2016 season ranked eighth among offensive tackles with a pass-blocking grade of 85.1, but he has got off to a sluggish start in pass protection this season. After two games, Moses has allowed six pressures on 76 pass-blocking snaps, ranking 31st of 51 qualifying offensive tackles with a poor pass-blocking efficiency of 93.4. He’ll need to return to form quickly if he’s going to combat Khalil Mack, who has already tallied 8 pressures from 65 pass-rushing snaps, and has attained a pass-rushing grade of 88.2, the fifth-highest mark among edge defenders.
- RB Chris Thompson vs. LB Cory James – After two games of the 2017 season, Thompson leads all Washington running backs with a PFF overall grade of 60.3 after racking up 162 yards and three touchdowns on 13 total touches. Primarily used a receiving back, Thompson now averages 1.93 yards per pass route run, the 14th best mark among running backs, and Raiders linebacker Cory James will have to continue his good work in coverage if he’s to limit Thompson’s production. So far this season, James has been targeted 10 times, and he’s allowed just 6 receptions for 50 yards and a passer rating of just 72.9, the ninth best mark among linebackers.