Still undefeated, the Buffalo Bills head to Las Vegas to square up against the Raiders. If you haven’t been watching the black and silver out west, you should know that this Raiders team is much different than years prior. Jon Gruden has started to regain his grip on the game of football as a coach, and “Spider 2 Y Banana” looks alive and well. Meanwhile, the Raiders’ general manager, Mike Mayock, is starting to see positive results of multiple draft picks and free agent signings.
Fortunately for the Bills, the Raiders will be playing without quite a few of these talented players that have been brought in from the Mayock-Gruden era. Players such as Bryan Edwards and Damon Arnette have already been listed as out. Starting left tackle Trent Brown and wide receiver Henry Ruggs III are listed as doubtful, and starting safety Jonathan Abram is listed as questionable with a shoulder and thumb injury.
Today, the Bills will look to remain undefeated and the Raiders will look to add their third win of the season. For the Bills to stay unbeaten and hand the Raiders their second loss of the season, here are the three keys to the game!
Finding Ways to Limit Josh Jacobs
Due to some computer issues earlier in the week, I wasn’t able to do our Cover 1 Matchup Show that would have had my feature on Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. That won’t stop me now, though. Becoming a top-10 running back in the NFL isn’t an easy task, but Jacobs has made it look easy by becoming one this early in his career.
One of my favorite players from the 2019 NFL Draft was #Raiders RB Josh Jacobs. He had a great rookie year. He led all RBs that had over 200 carries in elusive rating (per @PFF) at 103.6 & led the way with 69 avoided tackles. Here's a highlight reel of those types of runs. pic.twitter.com/n7V7Ml8ybg
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) May 14, 2020
The second-year running back out of Alabama is already off to a fast start for the 2020 season. He’s already got 252 rushing yards on 68 carries and has three touchdowns. In addition to the rushing statistics, he’s got 16 carries for first downs so far this season and has 185 yards after contact.
Whenever you watch Jacobs, you’ll notice his aggressive running style, but his vision between the tackles is also impressive. This gives him an advantage when barreling through defenders or as he jump-cuts his way to the second level. Don’t sleep on him as a pass catcher, either. He’s already got 10 receptions on the season, and with so many wide receivers on the injury report for the Raiders, he should catch his fair share out of the backfield.
Keeping Their Foot on the Gas
There’s no question that beating the Los Angeles Rams is impressive. However, the Bills need to find a way to make sure that what happened in the second half last week against the Rams doesn’t happen against the Raiders. Whether it’s the Rams or the Jets, if you’re up 28-3, you can’t let them back in the game. Outside of getting the early touchdown in the 3rd quarter, the Bills looked like they were in neutral and couldn’t get out of their own way.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 27, 2020
Three of their four drives in the second half ended with a turnover from Josh Allen (interception and fumble) or a punt. This opened the door for the Rams to get right back into the game and take the lead 32-28, and it felt as if the Bills were going to lose their first game of the season. Fortunately, Josh Allen put it together with their final drive and with some help on a defensive pass interference call, and the Bills were able to get a touchdown to take back the lead and eventually the win. Keeping their foot on the gas in every facet of the game against the Raiders is key today.
Another Strong Showing for Devin Singletary
Last week I said that the Bills should use Devin Singletary as much as possible. Certainly, there were drives where he didn’t get the ball, but for the most part it was a strong showing for the second-year back out of FAU. Against the Rams, he had 71 rushing yards and added four receptions for 50 yards. Having over 120 total yards is exactly what the Bills need from him. Fortunately, he could be on the verge of doing it again.
So far this season, the Raiders have the 28th-ranked run defense in the league by allowing 163.7 rushing yards per game. With a relatively healthy offensive line in front of him and a strong passing attack, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Singletary explode through any given opening and gain yards on top of yards. If Singletary can build on what he did last week against the Rams, then that will only help his confidence and the coaching staff’s confidence in him. Keeping the ball away from the Raiders despite them trotting out a depleted wide receiver group will be key for the Bills to stay undefeated. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Singletary have a strong showing in this week 4 of the 2020 season.
Prediction: Bills win 31-23