1. Rookie vs. Vet
While Marcus Peters vs. Stefon Diggs is a matchup that’s already been highlighted this week, there will be another big one on the opposite side of the field in rookie Jakorian Bennett and receiver Gabe Davis.
When mentioning both of the players, the word speed comes to mind. Bennett ran a 4.30 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year, while Davis averaged a team-high (min. 3 catches) 17.4 yards per reception in 2022. While it’ll be a daunting task for the fourth-round pick to limit big play opportunities to Davis, Bennett had seven solo tackles in his NFL debut.
“JB [Jakorian Bennett] has been doing a great job since he got here,” Marcus Epps said on Upon Further Review with Eddie Paskal. “He’s locked in. He’s a smart player, very talented. We’ve got the utmost faith and trust in him and he’s been doing a real good job for us so far.”
2. 21-year drought
The Raiders, coming off a Week 1 victory, have the opportunity to accomplish something for the first time in two decades.
The Silver and Black have not defeated the Bills since the 2016 season, and haven’t won in Buffalo since 2002. The most-recent time the two teams crossed paths was in 2020, with the Bills getting a 30-23 victory in Allegiant Stadium. Maxx Crosby sacked Josh Allen once in that meeting.
3. Another clean day in the pocket for Jimmy G?
The battle in the trenches will be a sight to see come Sunday. The Bills defensive front is notorious for getting pressure, sacking Jets quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Zach Wilson three times in Week 1. This week, Buffalo is going up a Raiders offensive line that didn’t surrender a sack to the Broncos defense.
“[T]hey gave me clean pockets all day, and that makes it really easy,” Jimmy Garoppolo said of the offensive line. “But when you can get the ball in on time and you’re playing in unison with the O-line and backs – I mean, the backs did a great job. Josh [Jacobs] had a couple of big blocks, chip blocks by the tight ends, all those things. It’s really all tied together.”
4. Five for No. 8?
Josh Jacobs has a tall task ahead going up against the fourth-best rushing defense from 2022. After rushing for 48 yards against the Broncos, the running back could potentially move up further in the Raiders history books, needing five rushing yards to surpass Napoleon Kaufman and become fourth in franchise history in career rushing yards.
5. Next receiver up
With the absence of Meyers, it can be expected that Hunter Renfrow and Kristian Wilkerson step up in the offense. Renfrow has proven to be a Pro Bowl caliber player in this league, however he had no targets against the Broncos. Wilkerson, formerly on the New England Patriots, led the league in receptions this preseason (17).
“They’re a great group of guys. Fun group to be with. They all pull for each other,” Garoppolo said of the receiving corps. “I mean, it’s even in the run game – you see those guys going in and crack-blocking safeties. That takes some commitment as a receiver, and we have a good group of guys. They’re fun to mesh with. I think our relationships are just growing every day out here. But we’re in a good spot and those guys pull for each other. That’s what makes it fun out here.”
6. One away for Tae
Davante Adams could also see a bigger workload with Meyers not able to suit up. The All-Pro is on the verge of another huge milestone in the NFL, needing one more touchdown to surpass Larry Fitzgerald for the fifth-most touchdown receptions by a player in his first 10 seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens have more.
The last time Adams played the Bills in 2018, he recorded eight catches for 81 yards. He’s also caught a touchdown in three of his last four games against AFC East opponents.
“They’ve got pretty much an impact player at every level – if not multiple,” Adams said of the Bills defense. “They’ve got a really strong team in general. But they rally, they’ve got guys that are really instinctive, smart players. … It’ll be a good test seeing where we are right now, and it’ll be fun for sure.”
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