Woah, how about that game last week? With more that half the league floating like the balloons in IT between 3-4, 3-3, and 4-2, it’s really nice that even for a “rebuilding year,” these Bills are actually on the RIGHT side of things at 4-2. However, the same cannot be said for the gentlemen in Black and Silver. What happened to that team? They looked like world beaters until Carr went down late last year. This year, the Raiders can’t stop beating themselves. They limp into Buffalo with a rather ugly 3-4 record, despite a thrilling win over KC last Thursday night. They go head-to-head this week at The Cap, so let’s see who the key players are in a matchup that could have serious ramifications come playoff time.
Entire Buffalo Secondary
To be honest, it’s too difficult to single out one position or player that the Bills need to perform at a high level against the Raiders, more than the entire secondary. The Raiders offense finally woke up last week when Carr threw for over 400 yds and 3 TDs, and Amari Cooper finally provided some TDs instead of drops for his quarterback. And after getting torched for most of the afternoon last week against a Tampa Bay offense with a similar amount of offensive weapons as the Raiders, the Bills secondary could be in for a long day if they don’t step it up.
Entire Defensive Line
It goes without saying that in order to help your secondary, you need to be able to get pressure on a quarterback, but in this case it’s probably the most important part of the game plan. With Carr having injured his back once already this season, if the Bills can somehow get to him behind an offensive line that has certainly regressed since last season and make Carr uncomfortable, the Bills could pull this game out.
How do you do, Mr. McCoy? Nice of you to finally show up last weekend in the Tampa Bay game, we hope you can stay awhile! It had been since Week 1 the Bills were able to get that kind of production out of him, with defenses continually keying in on him this year. But with help from the bye week, and continued rumblings about Dennison bringing back plays from the power run scheme they ran with Anthony Lynn last season, it really looks like the Bills running game and offense as a whole could really turn the corner the next few weeks. The turn around can start with a Raiders defense that has been abysmal through the first 7 Weeks of the season.
What more do I have to say about him? He grew up in our own backyard, yet we passed on him like a salad at a burger joint to try and grab a “Ferrari” at receiver, and it’s bit us in the ass ever since. The man is an absolute GAME WRECKER, single-handedly winning the Raiders matchup with the Bills last season, and is also probably still in Taylor’s nightmares to this day. Pressuring the QB, throwing offensive linemen around with only one hand (look it up, it’s literally insane), bottling up the run, the guy can seriously do it all, and if the Bills aren’t careful, they could end up a victim of his for the second time in 12 months.
Man, when this kid is on, he is on. But when he’s off, good God he is off. Unfortunately for the Bills, it looks like he’s starting to get his swagger back, as well as the rest of his troops on the offensive side of the ball. Scary names like Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, even their TE Jared Cook can really do some damage. The Bills need to get pressure on Carr if they want to have any chance of winning this game, otherwise it could turn into a repeat of the air show that was the Tampa game this past week.
Entire Raiders Defense (sans Khalil Mack)
For as outstanding as Mack has been individually, the rest of the defense has been anything but. Being ranked 24th against the pass and 21st against the run, it’s been a rough season for the Raiders so far, which bodes well for a Bills offense that is looking like it is on the brink of a serious run game breakout. If the Bills can limit Mack and get McCoy going to set up a few patented Tyrod deep balls, this matchup could definitely fall in Bills favor.
My prediction: Bills win 31-23