This week the all the Raiders’ match-ups are prime time because the game is prime time. The audience will be big, the stage will be bigger as they look to improve to 3-0 in our Nation’s capital.
These are the key match-ups that will play major roles in the game’s outcome.
Marshawn Lynch vs Zach Brown
Brown leads Washington in tackles (22) and is third in the NFL. Lynch leads the NFL in broken tackles, evading the first tackle attempt on an NFL best 15 of his 30 carries according to Pro Football Focus.
Brown visited Oakland as a free agent this offseason and left without a deal. Lynch is from Oakland and is living his dream of playing in Silver & Black.
As Washington’s middle linebacker, Brown this week they will ‘test you to see if you can run on us’ and ‘dare you to put the ball in the air’. Lynch is going to test Brown plenty to see if he keep from getting his ankles broken or run over.
Michael Crabtree vs Josh Norman
Crabtree has caught 12 of 13 passes thrown his way (92%) and is the Raiders’ leading receiver with 163 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. He will face off against former All Pro Josh Norman who, according to Pro Football Focus, has allowed a 36.4% catch rate which is second lowest in the NFL.
Something’s got to give. This match-up will be fun to watch. I have a feeling they will both bring down each other’s currently outstanding rate.
Marshall Newhouse vs Ryan Kerrigan
Washington had one Pro Bowler on defense last season and it was Kerrigan. He put up 11.0 sacks on the season and has already gotten to the quarterback for 1.5 sacks this season.
In the season opener Newhouse faced solid pass rush in Tennessee that put up 40 sacks last season and held up well. He had some issues against the Jets, but those were primarily in run blocking.
Titans’ Derrick Morgan got a sack on Derek Carr in the opener, but it was while Marshall was not in the game. Morgan is a fine pass rusher, as is teammate Brian Orakpo and neither got so much as a pressure versus Newhouse. With Kerrigan coming off that right edge this week, it’s looking to be Newhouse’s biggest test yet -- a good primer for what he will be facing against the Raiders’ AFC West rivals.
David Amerson vs Terrelle Pryor
Interesting these two will face each other Sunday considering both are facing the team that originally drafted them and which sent them packing before their rookie contract was up.
Both players have rebounded elsewhere. For Amerson he was claimed off waivers and had his resurgence in Oakland. For Pryor he forced a trade, going to Seattle for the last tradable pick in the draft, failed to make the team as a QB, failed again as a QB in Cincinnati, switch to receiver in Cleveland, developed into a 1000-yard receiver, then turned down a long term deal to sign a one-year deal in Washington.
So, yeah, very different journeys for these two to end up squaring off, both with something to prove to their former clubs as well as themselves. Amerson is the Raiders’ top corner while Pryor is Washington’s top receiver, though with just 97 yards in two games, that’s not saying much.
Nicholas Morrow vs Vernon Davis
Yet another young linebacker the Raiders are looking to as the hopeful answer to their tight end coverage problems. Morrow was lights out in 25 snaps last week, but that was against a Jets team that was without two tight ends.
Jordan Reed is not expected to play. But the Raiders aren’t out of the woods. After him it’s Vernon Davis who has one catch this season for 13 yards. The 33-year-old Davis may not be the Pro Bowler he once was, but he still caught 44 passes for 583 yards last season so he’s not to be taken lightly. And until I see sustained success by the Raiders against tight ends, I will continue to assume even second tier guys will have success against them.