The Oakland Raiders head to the mid-west for a game with the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota is 1-1 on the season, with a loss in Green Bay last week. This is a big match-up for both teams if they hope to make a playoff run this year. Here are three key match-ups to watch on Sunday.
Xavier Rhodes Vs. Tyrell Williams
Rhodes is widely considered at top 10 corner in the NFL. He will be shadowing Tyrell Williams the majority of the game on Sunday. Williams has scored a touchdown in his last two games, while being Derek Carr’s top target. Williams has the speed to get by Rhodes, but with the hip pointer injury suffered last week, he may struggle to open up completely.
According to Pro Football Focus, Rhodes has allowed a reception on 10 of his 12 targets this season, so there is opportunity there. Rhodes is exploitable if Oakland can get some help from another receiver on the team, I expect Williams to have another solid game in Week 3.
Winner – I expect Williams to win this match-up and provide a huge spark for the Oakland offense.
Daryl Worley/Gareon Conley Vs. Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs
The Hope is that the Raiders neutralize Cook on the ground, which will leave a huge burden on the secondary to stop the Vikings elite receiving duo. After the Raiders secondary was torched for 400+ yards in the second quarter of last weeks game, this will be a huge test for them. This match-up will likely decide if this is a blow-out or a close game for the young Raiders.
Adam Thielen has produced back-to-back 1200+ yard seasons, and is an absolute monster. Oakland will look to neutralize him with Daryl Worley. This doesn’t look like a great match-up for Oakland on paper. However, Worley has been the Raiders best corner through two weeks, he’s allowed five receptions on 10 targets. Thielen will put up stats, but Worley needs to limit the big play.
Conley should bounce back in a big way, after playing at 75 percent last week. Stefon Diggs is no easy task, but I expect Conley to have a huge bounce back performance on Sunday. I won’t use any stats on Conley, because he played so banged up. However, Diggs had one catch for a touchdown last week and struggled to get separation the rest of the game.
Winner – Minnesota is going to get a big game from Thielen, but I expect Conley to shut down Diggs.
Raiders O-Line Vs. Vikings D-Line
Trent Brown is highly questionable for Sunday’s game, and Gabe Jackson is still out. This doesn’t bode well for an Oakland line that struggled last week.
The Vikings defensive line boasts: Everson Griffin, Danielle Hunter, and Linval Joseph. Making it one of the best front fours in football. I expect them to get consistent pressure. Oakland needs a big game from newly re-instated Richie Incognito and LT Kolton Miller. If they can slow down the left side of Minnesota’s defensive line, they may be able to provide more help to the banged up right side.
Winner – I expect the Vikings to get consistent pressure like they do against everyone but Oakland will win this match up if Trent Brown plays. If he sits it could get very ugly.