In their game against the New Orleans Saints, the Las Vegas Raiders defense struggled, allowing Andy Dalton and Alvin Kamara to have a field day. However, they weren’t fully to blame because the offense wasn’t doing them any favors. These three defensive players must step up if the Raiders are to stop the Jacksonville Jaguars’ attack.
Raiders vs. Jaguars: X-Factor No. 1 – Maxx Crosby
Crosby appears to be on this list all the time, but that is what superstar status entails. With no pressure or sacks against the Saints, Crosby had a quiet game. Crosby seldom has “poor” games, so the Jaguars better be prepared for a vintage “Condor” performance.
.@Raiders @BigTimeHank & @CrosbyMaxx are making lots of plays that donâ€™t always show up in the stats. Holding calls are â€œDrive Killersâ€ and these 2 plays killed the Saints only possession of 3rd Q. #RaiderNation #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/BKx34BofrJ
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2020
The Jaguars’ offense, which is now ranked sixth in the NFL in total yards, will need to be slowed down, and Crosby’s superb run defense and pass rush skills will be crucial to being able to do so. Turnovers might be on the way if Crosby can slow down Travis Etienne and force the Jaguars to pass. Through nine weeks, Trevor Lawrence has a total of 10 turnovers, demonstrating his penchant for miscues. Because of Crosby, he might make several poor throws that result in interceptions or sack fumbles. It’s time to make a statement, wreck some havoc, and boost the Raiders’ defense by proving you are one of the best in the NFL.
Raiders vs. Jaguars: X-Factor No. 2 – Denzel Perryman
Perryman was exploited by the Saints because he was frequently forced out of the play and was beaten often in pass coverage. Perryman had one of the worst performances of his career in Silver and Black, but he will need to have a short memory. That’s because, with the season on the line, the Raiders depend on him to perform well against the Jaguars.
Etienne and Evan Engram will probably match up with Perryman frequently on Sunday. Although Perryman can compete in the run game, the Raiders would be wise to avoid leaving him against either of those players on an island. The Jaguars have the sixth-most rush yards in the NFL, so he will be needed there. I won’t break down their rushing attack in depth, as I will leave it for my next X-factor, but the Raiders desperately need Perryman to make some splash plays against the Jaguars.
Raiders vs. Jaguars: X-Factor No. 3 – Bilal NicholsÂ
Nichols isn’t a household name or a spectacular athlete, but he has been a reliable defensive lineman for the Raiders this year. The Raiders’ run defense has allowed the seventh-fewest rush yards in the NFL this season. That’s thanks in large part to Nichols, who leads the team in defensive snaps for defensive tackles.
As the seventh-ranked rushing offense (yardage-wise) in the NFL, the Jaguars will need Nichols’ assistance to stop this rushing attack. To stop Etienne and this rushing attack, Nichols’ ability to apply interior pressure during the run game will be crucial. Stopping the Jaguars is possible if Nichols can equip the Raiders’ D-line with a strong showing in run defense.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri