Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Week Two: Key Matchups
David Wilson – Sep 16, 2012
The Raiders have not fared well against the Dolphins over the last couple of years, and whilst right now this Miami team looks poor in many respects, this is not a game that Oakland can afford to sleep on. What is of particular concern is that in the last two games between these teams, the Raiders look like they have been soundly beaten in terms of physicality. They will need to put that right on Sunday
Dolphins Offense v Raiders Defense
RT Jonathan Martin v DE Lamarr Houston
The Dolphins have some strong players on the offensive line, with Mike Pouncey and Jake Long, but they have a potential weak spot at right tackle in Jonathan Martin. The rookie from Stanford is still getting used to playing in the NFL, and many felt he was overrated coming out of college. I have predicted a big year for Lamarr Houston, and if that is going to become a reality then he will have to produce the goods against players like Martin.
Houston lost 20lbs this off season to generate some more speed off the edge, but was held mostly in check against the Chargers last week. In this game he has the best one on one matchup on the line to pressure quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and needs to show he can win that battle.
WR Davone Bess v CB Joselio Hanson
Davone Bess might not be a great receiver, or not even the best receiver on the Dolphins team, but he will be part of their game plan. The reason for that is that Joselio Hanson is new to the Raiders after being cut by the Eagles, and following the injury to Ron Bartell has walked straight into the starting lineup.
If I were the Dolphins, I would want to test the cornerbacks, which are the weakest point in an otherwise good Raider defense, and definitely go after Hanson, who only arrived last week. If Hanson isn’t up to the job, it will be a long night for the Raiders.
Raiders Offense v Dolphins Defense
LT Jared Veldheer v RE Cameron Wake
Cameron Wakeis by far the best player on a solid Miami defense, and is an elite pass rusher by any standards. Veldheer is by far the best offensive lineman that the Raiders have right now, and this battle will be key to the outcome of the passing game. Veldheer has shown that he can handle elite rushers such as Jared Allen last year, but also struggled against more complete players such as Julius Peppers. At 241lbs, Wake is unlikely to be able to bull rush the 6’ 8” 320lb Veldheer, but his speed is extremely dangerous.
This is a huge test for Veldheer, and if he can hold his own it then it will continue to build his reputation as one of the best young tackles in the league, as well as earn the gratitude of Carson Palmer.
WR Denarius More v CB Richard Marshall
Denarius Moore, whilst only in his second season, is a playmaker in the passing game that the Raiders really rely to get their offense going and provide that deep threat. Last year, despite only playing in 13 games he led the Raiders in receiving touchdowns (five). He also averaged 18.7 yards per reception, and was targeted deep more than any other receiver in the league.
That deep passing threat opens up both the running game and the short passing game, and the Raiders really miss Moore when he isn’t on the field. He was listed as probable last week but didn’t play, but the feeling from the Raiders camp this week is that he will definitely suit up against Miami.
Marshall is a competent cornerback who the Dolphins brought in this off season as a free agent for Arizona. He probably would not be starting right now had it not been for the trade of Vontae Davis to Indianapolis, but he is certainly a staring quality player.
The seven year veteran had by far his best season last year with the Cardinals, so he will a tough test for Moore, who will need to be fully fit if he is going to win the battle.
Despite the fact that their offense has struggled, the Dolphins have a very underrated defense, especially the front seven. That does not bode well for a suspect Oakland offensive line, and this game could well develop into a low scoring defensive struggle.
The Dolphins, rightly or wrongly, are at the bottom of just about everyone’s power rankings at this point in the season. If the Raiders can’t beat them, then some serious questions are going to have to be asked about this team.
Like Raider Nation Times
How Would You Grade the Raiders Free Agency So Far?