Sunday morning’s matchup between the Raiders and Buffalo Bills will feature one team attempting to go 2-0, but not the team everyone expected. Las Vegas, fresh off a nail biter win in Denver, will take on Josh Allen and the Bills. Buffalo opened their season this past Monday with an underwhelming loss to the Aaron Rodgers-less Jets. Can Jimmy Garoppolo and company shock the world?
If they have any chance to do so, they’ll need to key in on a few possible concerns.
Raiders Must Keep Josh Allen In The Pocket
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen toes the line between generational franchise cornerstone and Brett Favre impersonator with impeccable ease.
The Wyoming product had the Bills one stop away from a Super Bowl berth a few seasons ago. He also has 84 turnovers since 2018; more than any other player. Those miscues haven’t stopped Buffalo from being a perennial contender, and Las Vegas can’t allow a pedestrian week one to throw them off the scent. Allen is more than capable of single-handedly ruining the Raiders’ Sunday.
Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham would be wise to emphasize keeping Big No. 17 from scrambling and creating outside the pocket. Allen finished Week 1 with just 36 yards rushing on 6 carries. Las Vegas should follow that blueprint to maximize their chance for the upset.
Discipline Will Be Key To Stop Stefon Diggs
The Raiders don’t have the personnel on paper to truly stop the aforementioned Josh Allen. The guy is bigger than nearly every linebacker on Las Vegas’ roster. But his favorite target is another subject.
Stefon Diggs is great at two things—calling out his quarterbacks and catching the damn football. Las Vegas doesn’t have a cornerback the caliber of Sauce Gardner to deploy, and even he had his struggles with Diggs, who finished with a 10/102/1 TD stat line.
Rather than overextending in hopes of the big turnover, the Raiders need to remain disciplined in their coverage approach. Divine Deablo had a career day coverage wise in Denver and we can only hope that carries over to this week. If the Raiders recurring tight end issue is minimized, the proper resources can be focused on the nine-year veteran.
Matt Milano Could Sabotage The Offense
Matt Milano has made his name as one of the best linebackers in football, especially in coverage. The seven-year veteran started the season strong by adding another interception, bringing his career tally to nine. The Raiders’ offense under Jimmy Garoppolo is a bit more conservative than it was last year. Working the middle of the field is far more important, which plays directly into the wheelhouse of player like Milano. If the Bills generate the level of pressure they did on Monday, Jimmy could have a repeat of that horrendous red zone interception in Denver.
*Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Getty Images