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Three keys to Raiders staying on winning track in Buffalo

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A look at how the Raiders can rack up back to back victories

Buffalo Bills v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A week ago the Raiders they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving Raiders fans a long time to enjoy it. Now after a ‘mini bye week’, they face a very tough road test against the Buffalo Bills.

The 4-2 Bills are currently sitting in second place in the AFC East and are trying to keep pace with the first place New England Patriots. This is a team that is going to test Oakland and could lead to a defining Raiders win if they follow these keys.

Keep containment

Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor is a true duel threat. He can extend plays and also take off if the defensive line does not keep him in the pocket. Very often a quarterback who can beat you with his legs is used more as a running threat and less of a traditional pocket passer. Taylor can do it all and being paired with running back LeSean McCoy just makes him that much more of a threat.

“That’s exactly what it is, a challenge.” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said of Taylor and McCoy. “They’re gifted athletes. They’ve got speed and elusiveness that not a lot of people have. One of them is the quarterback and has the ball in his hands every snap, and the other guy is running back and they get it to him a lot of different ways. Screens, draws, power game, tosses, they do every way you can they’re getting him the ball. He’s one of the more talented backs in the league. Gone against him in the past. He’s a very special player. I have a lot of respect for him.”

On film Taylor shows he can stand in the pocket, read the coverage correctly, and deliver the ball with accuracy. This will put the defensive coaching staff in a bit of a bind. Do they rush contain and give Taylor time in the pocket or do they attack him and risk giving him rushing lanes?

Taylor’s ability to hit this seam route both inside the corner and in front of the safety highlights his accuracy. This is not a throw every quarterback can make. He is one more in a line of very good passers the Raiders will face this season.

An additional aspect to the defense keeping containment against the Bills offense will be setting the edge. Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy has only scored two touchdowns this season but has still gained 370 yards on 110 carries with an average of 3.4 yards per carry.

Much of McCoy’s success has come from outside runs like this jet motion toss sweep. The defense has to keep the Bills running game inside of the tackles and not let them control time of possession. Buffalo's game plan will be to limit the Raiders offensive possessions, they cannot allow that to happen.

Zone blitzing

So how should the Raiders attack Taylor and this Buffalo offense? Even though the Bills receivers are more than capable they do lack a true #1 wide receiver who can control a game. This would lead many defensive coordinators to lean on man coverages and force throws into tight windows. I do not think this will be the approach of the Raiders defensive staff.

In order to get pressure on Taylor while also keeping the secondary aware of his location, zone blitzing will be the way they go. They utilized this very effectively against the Jets in their week two win.

Getting a sack/fumble with a three man blitz is a defensive coordinators dream. Forcing Taylor to read coverages while bringing pressure will prevent quarterback runs and possibly end in turnovers. Perhaps the defense can get that first interception of the season that has eluded them to this point.

Get in the endzone

So scoring points will help the Raiders win this game? Who would have thought? The Bills defense currently ranks 7th in rush yards and 26th in pass yards. Most importantly they rank 4th in points given up. That old saying ‘bend but don’t break’ really applies to this team.

The Raiders offense needs to take advantage of the Bills secondary and attempt to hit on some big pass plays like Amari Cooper’s two touchdowns last week. This game will be won by the team that can finish drives. The Raiders will have an edge here and should look to take advantage of it.

After beating the rival Chiefs, the Raiders need to win this game and hit the .500 mark. Getting a win against an AFC opponent and hitting the midway point at 4-4 will get the organizations playoff aspirations back on track. If the win these key areas, they can make that win a reality.


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