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Raiders vs. Jaguars key matchup: Raiders rush defense faces one of the best in Jones-Drew

The Jags don't have a lot going for them, but they do have a stud rusher in Maurice Jones-Drew. How will the Raiders be able to slow him down?

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Last week, the Raiders played mostly a nickel defense designed to take away Matt Ryan's options in the passing game and generate turnovers. It worked to absolute perfection until the very last drive of the game. The overall defensive effort not only shows that the Raiders can play with anyone, but that Jason Tarver is able and willing to make adjustments in-game to maximize their advantages.

The Jaguars have little passing game to speak of, so the nickel defense probably won't rear its head very much. Like all defenses against the Jaguars, the Raiders will probably stack eight or nine men in the box in an attempt to shut down Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguar receivers are nowhere near as good as Atlanta's and the Raider corners ought to be able to take them man to man, leaving the Raiders free to stick a safety in close to the line of scrimmage.

With that said, it's likely the Raiders won't have to do that. They completely negated Michael Turner last week while playing the nickel, which means only five or six men in the box. If they can shut down Turner with only six men, then using eight for Jones-Drew could be overkill.

Look for the Raiders to mix up their defenses frequently. They will probably switch from various blitzes to nickel or dime depending on the situation. If they have success stopping the run with six in the box, they probably won't send more unless those guys are tasked with rushing the passer. I anticipate a few corner or safety blitzes unleashed in this game. If the Raiders can get to Blaine Gabbert and force him to make the mistakes Matt Ryan made last week, while simultaneously holding Jones-Drew to under 100 yards rushing, they will have an excellent chance of winning the game.