The Oakland Raiders keep finding ways to win and did so again last week, beating the Carolina Panthers to improve their record to 9-2 on the season.
The Raiders will host the Buffalo Bills in Oakland on Sunday, looking to keep their hot-streak alive.
The Bills are 6-5 on the season and in third place of the AFC East, but head coach Rex Ryan does have their team on a two-game winning streak.
Ryan hired his brother and former Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to take over the Bills defense in the offseason, which nows ranked top 10 in total yards per game and passing yards per game, while ranking second int he league with 33 sacks. With Raiders quarterback Derek Carr battling a finger injury, it'll be even more important for the Raiders offensive line to keep Carr's jersey clean without any hits by the Bills defensive linemen.
Leading the Bills in sacks is linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who played his high school ball in Berkeley and even played for the Raiders last season. This year he has already brought down the opposing quarterback 10 times for sacks, second in the NFL behind only Broncos LB Von Miller.
Running back Latavius Murray and the Raiders backfield should be able to find some running room against a Bills defense that is allowing 114 yards per game on the ground, 21st in the league. On the flip side, Carr and the passing game may have a tougher time getting things going as the Bills are allowing just 227 passing yards per game, 8th best in the NFL. Fifth-year cornerback Stephon Gilmore leads the Bills in interceptions, accounting for four of team's eight.
The Raiders did a good job containing Cam Newton last week, but will face another tough task with mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is in his second season as the team's starting quarterback and continues to show his versatility to opposing defenses, throwing for 2,101 yards and 11 touchdowns while also recording five rushing touchdowns, tied for the most by a quarterback in the NFL. Taylor will look to run quickly if nobody is open and Ken Norton, Jr. and the defense will have to keep an eye on him in anticipation of a quarterback scramble.
Taylor's athleticism is just part of the reason the Bills have the best rushing offense in the NFL, tallying 157 yards on the ground a game. Besides Taylor, the Bills also have one of the most explosive running backs in LeSean McCoy who leads the team in rushing with 819 yards and nine touchdowns, fourth in the league. The Raiders have to use proper tackling technique to make sure McCoy doesn't break one the distance.
The Raiders secondary should get David Amerson back, but will be without slot cornerback DJ Hayden after head coach Jack Del Rio said he will miss the rest of the season. The Bills passing game accounts for just 182 yards per game, last in the NFL. With Sammy Watkins having been out for most of the season, Taylor's top targets in the passing game are wide receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. Woods leads the team in receptions (42) and receiving yards (493).
The Raiders will have a short week after the game, going to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football in a big battle for the lead of the AFC West.