Peyton Hillis is proving that the Madden curse extends to the brain this season. Hillis sat out the Browns vs. Dolphins with strep throat. Of course, the was met with a wave of skepticism. Hillis decided to combat that skepticism by saying that he could have played, but his agent advised him not to.
Hillis claimed that his agent was just looking out for him, and that he needs someone to tell him when he is not fit to play. Given that Hillis wants a new contract this was obviously going to be perceived as more pouting than an actual health concern.
That's in the past now. Hillis will play against the Raiders, and he will be the featured back. Here is Pat Shumur from a chat with the press on Thursday:
"I think the natural reaction is because the two defensive tackles are playing so well is you run away from them. I think that’s what is making people assume. I think you have to attack them everywhere in this front and Peyton Hillis is going to get the bulk of the carries, I can just tell you that." Jump over for more....
Hillis is a talented back. There is no doubt about that. However, the Raiders defense is better equipped to deal with a bruiser than a slasher. The Raiders feature a huge front seven. They struggle with people running past them—not over them.
Think back to last year's games against the Chargers. The Raiders had no problem stuffing Mike Tolbert, but Ryan Mathews had much more success in his limited carries.
On paper, this is one running game that the Raiders should be able to shut down. The Browns are 26th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. They are gaining only 3.4 yards per carry. They are 30th in power rank. They are 19th in stuffed rank.
Defensively the Raiders are 12th in power rankings and 10 in stuffed. This bodes well. If the Raiders defensive line plays anywhere near the level they played at last week the Raiders will consistently hold the Browns to three yards or less per carry.