There are a few reasons why this game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Las Vegas Raiders is intriguing. Derek Carr was just benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham, and the Raiders have struggled this season. Even though the Niners are on their third quarterback, they are still among the NFL’s top teams. This distinguishes an effective organization from one that is mired in mediocrity. But let’s focus on their contest instead of that debate. Both teams have many stars, which will make for some exciting matches. Let’s examine three matchups against the 49ers that are worth watching.
Darren Waller vs. Fred WarnerÂ
When healthy Darren Waller is one of the best tight ends in the league. And over the past two weeks, it looks like he is finding his groove. But this matchup will be the hardest for Waller since Fred Warner, an All-Pro for the 49ers, will be covering him. Therefore, the winner will control the middle of the field because it is best versus best.
Having a big-bodied target like Waller will be essential because this is Stidham’s first start. He will receive his fair share of targets, but how many will he catch with Warner covering him? If the Raiders are wise, they will take advantage of Waller’s speed and let him execute routes that produce the most space possible. Waller may take advantage of Warner in this matchup by doing this. Let’s see if Waller still has it in him; it should be entertaining.
Kolton Miller vs. Nick BosaÂ
Due to his strong run and pass blocking, Kolton Miller is unwittingly enjoying a fantastic year. That won’t matter, though, because Nick Bosa, arguably the league’s best pass rusher, is his next opponent. It doesn’t make sense to block Bosa one-on-one but given how the Raiders offensive line is currently doing, Miller will probably have to do this by himself. Miller should be able to hold his own, but things can become complicated if a clear passing down occurs. Bosa may use all of his cunning pass rush skills if he perceives the Raiders must pass. Miller cannot worry about the fact that he won’t win every rep. Because the battle will be over if he allows Bosa to get in his head. Let’s hope Miller can stop Bosa for the benefit of the Raiders’ offense and Stidham.
The Raiders’ safeties vs. George KittleÂ
George Kittle had a sluggish start to the season as a result of his quarterbacking being inconsistent and injuries. Kittle, however, has averaged 106 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. Most importantly, he appears healthy, much like Kittle did in 2018â€“19, when he was arguably the league’s best tight end. This is unfortunate for the Raiders since they lack a player that matches up nicely against Kittle. The Raiders’ safeties struggled against Pat Freiermuth’s physicality during their game last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Imagine them going up against Kittle; oh no. They should double Kittle and prevent him from taking control of the game.
*Top Photo: David Zalubowski/Associated Press