For the second of their back-to-back home games, the 9-2 Raiders welcome the 6-5 Buffalo Bills. Rex Ryan’s crew comes to town boasting the league’s top rush offense, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and the league’s second best pass rush with 33 sacks.
We talk about how good the Raiders offensive line is, but the Bills offensive line has been doing some serious work in the trenches this season. The guards John Miller and Ritchie Incognito have been superb as has left tackle Cordy Glenn.
The Raiders are among the league’s worst run defenses, giving up 4.6 yards per carry, which is third worst in the NFL. They will have their hands full stopping LeSean McCoy and containing quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
A major concern for the Raiders is the status of middle linebacker Perry Riley Jr. When he plays, their rush defense improves considerably. They’ve given up nearly a yard less per carry this season with him (4.2) than without him (5.1).
Where the Bills could have issues is in the pass game. They aren’t what you would call balanced so much as bipolar. For while we talk about how good their run game is, it’s worth mentioning that their NFL worst pass offense is severely banged up and missing Robert Woods and Percy Harvin. Sammy Watkins will play, but is nursing a broken foot.
The vertical game is where the Raiders thrive. Derek Carr is among the league’s top passers and he has arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
Making matters tougher for the Bills is they are without starting cornerback Ronald Darby. The Bills will try to make up for it with their pass rush in which they create pressure with well designed blitzes. This is strength on strength as they have the league’s second most sacks (33) going against the Raiders who have given up the league’s fewest sacks (12) and fewest QB hits (26).
On the flip side – Raiders pressure vs Bills protection – it’s weakness vs weakness. The Raiders have the NFL’s fewest sacks (17) while the Bills have allowed the 5th most sacks (31). The Bills are vulnerable at right tackle with Jordan Mills there. That’s where Khalil Mack usually lines up, so look for him to create some havoc from that side, which he’s done well enough lately to be named AFC Defensive Player of the Month.
The final area is the Raiders rush offense, which is ranked in the top ten this season, but hasn’t looked good of late. They have gained just 85 yards on 50 carries (1.7 yards per carry) the past two games since coming out of the bye week. Defensive linemen Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams, and inside linebacker Zach Brown are a very good trio on a pretty good overall run defense.
Location: Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland CA
Game time: Sunday, December 4, 1:05pm Pacific (4:05 pm ET)
TV channel: CBS (Do I get the game?)
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass (Live audio, replay after it's over)
Radio: 95.7 The Game, 98.5 KFOX (Greg Papa, Tom Flores) | Full listings
Odds: Raiders are 3.5-point favorites
Match-up history: Raiders lead series 20-17 (all-time), 13-5 in Oakland/LA, Raiders won last meeting in 2014 26-24.
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Enemy blog: Buffalo Rumblings
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