At first glimpse, it would be easy to say the Raiders would have to fall to a whole new level of ineptitude to lose to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The Rams are fresh off a 1-15 season and have a rookie QB lining up for his first NFL road game.
This is certainly not the case, however. This young Rams team already looks like a different team than last years and they pose some legitimate match-up concerns for the Raiders.
Here is a look at some of the key match-ups for this game:
The Lopsided Match-Ups
The Rams Pass Rush vs. The Raiders O-Line
The Rams kept the pressure on the Cardinals QB Derek Anderson last week. They got in nine hits on the QB on their way to sacking him twice. DE Chris Long appears to finally be playing up to the level that warrants being selected second overall in an NFL draft and he will be going up the much maligned Tackles for the Oakland Raiders.
Long is not alone on the D-Line. The off-season addition of Fred Robbins has solidified the Rams Defensive Tackle position. Robbins backed up an impressive pre-season with a good performance week one. He registered a sack among his four tackles and he has been consistently getting good penetration.
Last week the Raiders surrendered four sacks and Jason Campbell was under pressure most of the game.
The Raiders Pass Defense vs. The Rams Passing Offense
While Rams rookie Sam Bradford showed flashes of brilliance in his debut he also showed flashes of rookie. Bradford threw three INT’s as he was rushed into some bad decisions.
Combine the fact the Bradford will be making his first road NFL start with the Raiders strong pass rush and the Raiders should be looking to capitalize on some similar mistakes.
The Raiders will be able to succeed devoting just one man to the thin Rams WR corps. Nnamdi Asomugha continues his elite level of play and Stanford Routt is looking vastly improved at the other corner spot.
The Most Intriguing Match-Up
The Rams Interior O-Line vs. The Raiders Interior D-Line
This is strength against the strength. The Rams are solid from Guard-to-Guard and the Raiders Defensive Tackles are looking like a potential force. Richard Seymour has moved almost exclusively to DT and the off-season addition of John Henderson and the recently acquired Jay Alford make this unit one of the best and deepest in the league.