In October, the Las Vegas Raiders will be facing the Buffalo Bills and their refined wide receiver corps, an early test for their young secondary.
The Bills made a leap forward as the top team in the AFC East. Combined with Tom Brady’s departure from the division, 2020 could be Buffalo’s year. A major upgrade to their wide receiver room came in the form of Stefon Diggs, who hauled in 63 passes, 1,130 yards, and six touchdowns in 2019. Not to be outdone, John Brown, who was the Bills’ go-to option last year, totaled six touchdowns of his own.
As for the Raiders, they’ll have their work cut out for them as their inexperienced secondary will face a tough test. The unit is composed of talented but unknown defenders that joined the team via the NFL Draft. Raiders general manager Mike Mayock did a good job at recognizing cornerback Trayvon Mullen’s talent last season and it paid off. This year, Mayock selected Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson to add even more depth and talent. All the same, these youngsters have yet to set foot on an NFL field and these Bills receivers will be no cakewalk.
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Raiders: By The Numbers
The Bills 2019 wide receiver group proved to be reliable. Quarterback Josh Allen’s top three targets had at least a 62% catch percentage. While they were an efficient group, breakaway speed wasn’t necessarily their strength as shown by that fact the longest reception was for 53 yards. Enter Diggs, who had a reception go for 66 yards and averaged nearly 18 yards per reception with the Vikings in 2019. By comparison, Brown averaged 14.7 yards in the same category. When you combine these two, Allen and Buffalo’s wide receiver corps will be more dangerous.
While it’s okay for fans to be excited about the Raiders defensive prospects, they have to remember they will be facing proven commodities in Diggs and Brown. Essentially, everyone’s expecting defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to put them in positions to succeed, something we have yet to see given the pass defense struggles.
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*Top Photo: John Munson/Associated Press