The Las Vegas Raiders sit at 5-3 and will take on the Denver Broncos in Week 10. If they want to earn their sixth victory of the year, these three players need to shine at Allegiant Stadium.
Sunday’s game may be one of the biggest for Nevin Lawson. With Trayvon Mullen out because of a hamstring injury, Isaiah Johnson came into last Sunday’s matchup against the Chargers. He made two fantastic plays to clinch the win for the Raiders. Jon Gruden is not fully committed to starting Johnson yet due to his lack of snaps. If Lawson continues to give up key plays and allow big yards against the Broncos, Gruden may be more confident in Johnson to take that role for right now.
Lawson has given up meaningful yards in games that the Raiders have lost in. Most notably giving up 78 yards while covering Bills wide receiver John Brown and allowing four out of five receptions, and allowing 82 yards off of seven out of nine receptions against Buccaneers wide receiver Scott Miller. Lawson can take advantage of a very young and inexperienced Broncos team.
The Broncos rank seventh in the youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.6. With first-round pick Damon Arnette also looming a return from the injured list, Lawson must step up, or else he’ll be watching much of the game from the sideline.
First, it must be addressed that I am not taking anything away from Brandon Parker. For someone who has looked at as a last resort to having to start at left tackle in a key division matchup is a lot to ask. Parker ended up playing every snap and not allowing a single sack against the Chargers.
This is not an easy task for anyone who was not seeing much playing time and Parker deserves all the recognition in the world. Now if Kolton Miller can’t play this week, he must be able to deliver again. Kolton Miller did miss practice for the fourth straight time which is a good indicator he will not be playing against the Broncos.
Parker is certainly benefiting from getting more playing time and the more snaps he can get I believe the more comfortable he can be in his role. If Miller is not able to play, Parker must create the same magic he had last week and keep the consistency the raiders desperately need right now.
Henry Ruggs III
This game is an important one for Ruggs. Going against the Broncos will be his first game against former teammate Jerry Jeudy. Ruggs was taken with the 12th overall pick with Jeudy taken three picks later. Jeudy has been a big part of the Broncos receiving core as he is a popular target for Drew Lock.
Last game against the Atlanta Falcons, Jeudy was targeted 14 times for 125 yards and a touchdown with one connection for a 41-yard completion. It seems like Drew Lock has been slowly working Jeudy into a main piece for Denver’s offense. Ruggs on the other hand, is still looking for a solid role on the Raiders receiving core.
Ruggs has not been targeted a whole lot this season, only with ten receptions going for one touchdown. A big game from him against his former teammate can lay a great foundation for this rivalry as they get set to face each other twice a year.
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Top Photo: Jeff Robertson/Associated Press