NFL Week 5 Preview: Ravens at Raiders
Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Daniel Cohen
Matchup: Baltimore Ravens offense vs. Oakland Raiders defense
- WR Mike Wallace vs. CB T.J. Carrie – Wallace scored his first touchdown of the season last week, though overall he has not had a productive 2017. His 44.2 grade ranks 91st among wide receivers, and he has a tough matchup this week against Carrie. Carrie ranks 19th among cornerbacks with a grade of 82.9, and he already has three passes defensed this season, tied for 11th most among cornerbacks.
- TE Benjamin Watson vs. LB Cory James – Watson has been very efficient receiving this year, averaging 1.90 yards per route run (10th best among tight ends). He is the fifth-highest graded tight end, with an overall grade of 83.5. James has proved vulnerable in the passing game, having earned a coverage grade of just 45.7 to this point (46th of 71 linebackers). Watson has run at least 20 pass routes each of the past three weeks (high of 28 last week), so there should be plenty of opportunities to exploit his matchup with James.
- HB Alex Collins vs. S Reggie Nelson – Collins has earned himself a role in the Ravens backfield, and it stems from his big play ability. With six of his 25 rush attempts having gone for 15-plus yards, Collins leads the league in breakaway percentage, the percentage of yards that comes on runs of 15 or more yards (min. 20 attempts). If anyone on the Raiders is going to stop Collins from breaking big runs, it will be Nelson. Nelson’s run defense grade of 80.4 ranks 13th among 74 qualifying safeties, and he has missed just one tackle in 106 run-defense snaps.
Coverage by: Mike Guerrelli
Matchup: Oakland Raiders offense vs. Baltimore Ravens defense
- T Donald Penn vs. Edge Terrell Suggs – Oakland’s offensive line is currently ranked first in PFF pass-blocking efficiency (pressure allowed per-snap with weighting toward sacks) for 2017, and Penn is a big reason why. The veteran left tackle has only allowed one sack and three total pressures in 137 pass-block snaps this season. Penn is third in pass-blocking efficiency among tackles with 80 or more pass-block snaps. Suggs’ PFF grade was among the top ten edge defenders in the NFL in six of his first nine seasons. This year his 79.1 overall grade ranks 32nd of 103 edge defenders. Suggs has three sacks and 12 total pressures in 106 pass-rush snaps this season.
- QB EJ Manuel vs. S Eric Weddle – The Raiders offense will be in Manuel’s hands after a back injury sidelined Derek Carr last week. Manuel played 20 snaps in Week 4 and had an adjusted completion percentage (accounts for drops, throw aways, etc) of 76.5 percent, which ranked 12th of 35 quarterbacks last week. He will have to use his eyes to influence the veteran Weddle, who was PFF’s top ranked safety in 2016 with an overall 93.8 grade. Weddle has been targeted five times in 150 snaps in coverage this year, allowing three catches for 46 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
- WR Amari Cooper vs. CB Brandon Carr – Cooper is off to a slow start in 2017, leading all players with seven drops out of 19 catchable passes thrown to him. He dropped a league high 18 passes in his rookie season of 2015, but rebounded with only four drops of 87 catchable targets in 2016. Carr is currently ranked 53rd at cornerback with an overall 69.1 PFF grade this season. He has allowed eight receptions for 102 yards with two interceptions in 145 coverage snaps this year. His 0.70 yards per cover snap ranks 13th among cornerbacks with 90-plus snaps in coverage.