PFF Preview: Cardinals @ Raiders, Week 7
Surprising many with a 3-0 start, Arizona took a step back with a Week 5 defeat to the Broncos. Despite the loss, they sit alone atop the NFC West and will aim to extend that lead with a win in Oakland on Sunday.
For the Raiders, their division lead is a bit out of sight as they look to pick up their first win. Their best chance might be at home against this banged up Cardinals team, as after this they must travel to Cleveland and Seattle before a three-game gauntlet against divisional foes.
Arizona has impressed, but how long can they keep it up with the various health concerns they have? Getting Carson Palmer back was undoubtedly helpful, but losing their best defender in Calais Campbell for a few weeks is as tough a loss as any. Campbell has as many defensive stops this year (14) as the rest of the defensive line combined. An ankle injury means that Patrick Peterson may not be at 100%, and Tyrann Mathieu has yet to hit the heights (or match the playing time) of his rookie year after a late-season ACL tear. If the Raiders’ Derek Carr can replicate his four-touchdown performance from last week’s narrow loss to the Chargers, Oakland may be able to take advantage of the Cardinals’ injuries and pull out a win.
Larry Fitzgerald – He may not be the featured option in the offense anymore, but Fitzgerald’s hands are as good as ever. He’s dropped just one of 102 catchable balls dating back to the start of last season, and is a perfect 19-of-19 this year.
Jared Veldheer – The former Raider has yet to match the production he had with his former team, though he is the Cardinals’ highest graded linemen by a good margin. He’ll have his hands full with a healthy dose of Khalil Mack on Sunday.
Larry Foote – Forced into the starting lineup due to Daryl Washington’s suspension and the offseason departure of Karlos Dansby, the longtime Steeler has allowed a reception once every 8.4 snaps in coverage and has missed nine tackles on receivers.
Khalil Mack – With a +3.5 grade against the Chargers last week, 2014’s firth overall pick posted his fourth consecutive grade over +1.5.
T.J. Carrie – He’s only averaged two thirds of the Raiders’ defensive snaps, but Carrie has yet to allow more than 31 yards in a game. Quarterbacks targeting the seventh rounder have a combined QB rating of 54.7.
Maurice Jones-Drew – A year removed from a perfect season in pass protection (on 110 pass blocking snaps), MJD has allowed three hurries this season. Considering the Cardinals’ propensity for blitzing (over 40% on the year), he’ll be put to the test this week.
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