Raiders: Who Needs To Step Up In Week 11 Against The Bengals?

The Las Vegas Raiders are reeling, and the defense showed major leaks last week. With the Cincinnati Bengals coming to town, the Raiders need to right the ship to avoid a third straight loss and a possible third straight catastrophic season collapse. These are the three defensive players who need to shine through this Sunday.

Maxx Crosby

Crosby has been on a tear this season in regards to pressure. Regrettably, it has not resulted in a higher number of sacks. According to ESPN, Crosby has five sacks, but with his number of pressures being over 100, it should be higher. Also, let’s call out some shoddy referee work. Crosby is held a lot during games and rarely gets a call. It is not to say that is the cause of the losses. Nevertheless, Crosby and the rest of the defense only bothered Patrick Mahomes on a few plays last week, and that’s part of what cost them.

Crosby should go and reminisce about his 2019 performance against the Bengals, in which he accumulated four sacks. Crosby has been getting praise throughout the league and is in Pro Bowl discussions. Even so, he needs to bring the play to back all that up this week.

Cory Littleton

42‘ was a signing last year that did not produce the best results. Nevertheless, Littleton has played better this season, but the last couple of games seem to have shown a stumble. Littleton currently sits at number three on the team in total tackles. Still, his original forte was his coverage skills, but that has dissipated in the last couple of weeks.

A key issue with the defense has been the dump off to the running back. The defense is so far back once the ball is dumped off; the running back has six or seven yards before he’s met. We know the scheme is the reason why. However, sometimes a defensive player should read what could happen and make the play; case in point, Casey Hayward in Week 3 against the Dolphins. Littleton has been a lightning rod of discussion for his play, or lack thereof, but this game could spearhead a change of feelings and discussion in his favor.

Nate Hobbs

A gem picked in the fifth round; Hobbs has been better than what the Raiders could have imagined. The rookie cornerback has shown his desire to make hits, as he ranks fourth on the team with 42 tackles per ESPN and has yet to give up a touchdown. As I stated, the defense was taken for a ride last week by Mahomes, and it was Hobbs seeing Mahomes for the first time, but he has been solid throughout the season.

In this matchup with the Bengals, Hobbs will see an explosive offense and a dynamic duo in quarterback Joe Burrow and receiver Ja’Marr Chase. There is also the always dangerous Joe Mixon. Hobbs will get plenty of plays that will come his way. If there was a game needed for some game-changing plays, this is the one. Hobbs, despite being a rookie, has demonstrated maturity and the ability to be in the right place at the right time. The Raiders will need that this Sunday if they want to stop this slide.

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