The Oakland Raiders visit the Buffalo Bills in Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Guerrelli
Matchup: Oakland Raiders offense vs Buffalo Bills defense
- C Rodney Hudson vs. DI Kyle Williams – Hudson has been the Raiders most consistent offensive lineman since signing as a free agent in 2015. He leads all centers in PFF pass-blocking efficiency this season, and has only allowed one pressure with no sacks or hits in 251 pass-block snaps. Hudson has not allowed a sack since Week 1 of the 2015 season. Williams is currently the 63rd ranked interior defender with a 76.5 overall PFF grade. He has six run stops in 93 snaps against the run this year, and ranks 70th of 119 interior defenders in run-stop percentage. In the 2016 meeting between these teams, Hudson did not allow a pressure in 35 pass-block snaps, and Williams had three hurries against other interior lineman in 29 total pass-rush snaps.
- RBs DeAndre Washington & Jalen Richard vs. LB Preston Brown – The one game suspension of Marshawn Lynch leaves the Raiders ground game in the hands of these two second year backs. Washington forced three missed tackles in only 12 touches last week against Kansas City. Richard has been effective in the passing game this year, ranking second among backs with 50 or more snaps in route with 2.83 yards per route run. Brown ranks 47th at linebacker this season with a 54.3 overall grade. He has only missed one tackle in 45 attempts through Week 7.
- WR Amari Cooper vs. CB Tre’Davious White – Cooper rebounded from an early season funk last week with 11 receptions on 17 targets against Kansas City, the second most targets in a game for a receiver this year. Cooper has struggled with drops, and his nine dropped passes are the most for a receiver this season. White is living up to expectations as a 2017 first-round pick. His 89.9 overall grade ranks fourth at cornerback through Week 7, and his 89.5 coverage grade is also fourth. White is second in the NFL with eight passes defensed this season.
Coverage by: Elliott Rooney
Matchup: Buffalo Bills offense vs. Oakland Raiders defense
- T Jordan Mills vs. Edge Khalil Mack – Just how well can the Bills block one of the best edge defenders in the NFL will be vital to their success in the run game. On the majority of snaps Mills will find himself blocking Mack in the run game, and whilst Mills has done a good job in pass protection, his run-block grade of 39.8 ranks 59th among 71 offensive tackles this season. Mack could be in for a big day, his run-defense grade of 94.7 is the highest by an edge defender this season and he also leads the league with 19 stops in run defense (a run stop is a tackle made in run defense that results in a “WIN” for the defense).
- QB Tyrod Taylor vs. CB Sean Smith – Taylor’s performance in Week 7 against the Buccaneers was one of his best of the season so far, his overall PFF grade of 80.2 ranked seventh among quarterbacks. Taylor finished with 116 yards on deep passes and a passer rating of 117.1 on such passes (a pass targeted 20 or more yards downfield) both of which ranked inside the top five in week 7. Taylor could have a lot of success when targeting Smith, who could be pushed into the lineup by not one but three key injuries in the Oakland secondary. Both CB David Amerson and CB Gareon Conley are out, and S Karl Joseph is doubtful. Smith has played sparingly in the last few weeks, and on the season has generated the second highest quarterback rating when targeted in coverage, 142.6. The only player generating a higher rating among qualified cornerbacks? Amerson.
- TE Nick O’Leary vs. LB NaVorro Bowman – Charles Clay is likely to miss his another game, meaning once again O’Leary will get the start. On passing downs O’Leary could have a favorable matchup with Bowman, the tight end is averaging 18.3 yards per reception this season and seems to have a strong connection with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has a passer rating of 118.8 when targeting O’Leary. Bowman has been a liability in coverage this season, missing the seventh most tackles among linebackers in 2017 with five. He is also allowing a passer rating of 128.5 in his coverage when targeted, which is the 10th highest among linebackers.