The Cleveland Browns are 5-2 heading into Week 8 against the Raiders.
This is a big game for both teams who want to prove they can be contenders in the AFC.
The Raiders can’t be underestimated as they’ve already beaten the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
There are a few matchups in this one that could be the difference in winning and losing this game.
3. Denzel Ward vs Henry Ruggs
On paper, this is a great matchup between two young studs.
The Raiders selected Henry Ruggs III with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
He has missed a few games due to injury, but looks like a star receiver when he’s on the field.
Highest passer rating when targeted among 1st RD WRs:
1. Henry Ruggs III, Raiders – 129.9
2. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys – 110.7
3. Justin Jefferson, Vikings – 106.9
4. Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers – 89.6
5. Jerry Jeudy, Broncos – 65.4
6. Jalen Reagor, Eagles – 64.6 pic.twitter.com/yGgHT7hgoS
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 21, 2020
The big play ability of Ruggs is something that can’t be overlooked here.
He has already put together one performance of 100 yards or more during his first four games in the NFL.
Luckily, Cleveland will have superstar defensive back Denzel Ward covering Ruggs.
The former first-round pick has been a lockdown option for Cleveland this season.
Ward is leading the league with 11 passes defended heading into Week 8.
The Raiders are going to look Rugg’s way on the deep balls, so keeping him in check is a must for Cleveland.
2. Myles Garrett vs Raiders O-Line
This seems like a storyline to watch just about every week at this point.
Superstar defensive end Myles Garrett has been destroying opposing offensive lines all season long.
He currently has a league-leading nine sacks and four fumbles forced heading into Week 8.
It’s also worth mentioning that Garrett has a sack in six straight games, which is the longest streak in the NFL.
Myles Garrett has recorded a sack in 6 straight games 😳 @brgridiron
That’s the longest active streak in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/lesZvE975m
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 25, 2020
At times, it feels like Garrett is able to take over a game all by himself.
The Raiders offensive line has been having issues protecting quarterback Derek Carr this season.
Last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense was able to sack Carr three times.
The Browns need to continue bringing pressure on defense, especially with their secondary banged up.
Garrett could very well be looking at a career game if the Raiders o-line continues to struggle.
1. Baker Mayfield vs Raiders Secondary
Finally, quarterback Baker Mayfield was able to silence the critics for one week.
He looked horrendous during the first quarter, but was able to turn it around after that.
Mayfield was nearly perfect after his awful beginning to the game last week versus Cincinnati.
Baker Mayfield started 0/5 with an INT, then went nearly perfect:
His only incomplete pass was a spike to stop the clock.
Shut the haters up. pic.twitter.com/Rj1lLbWYSL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 25, 2020
One of the biggest problems for Mayfield during his career has been staying consistent.
He shows flashes of being a franchise quarterback, but they never last long.
Mayfield has a real shot at putting together back-to-back great performances.
The Raiders secondary has allowed the 10th-highest amount of passing yards in the league.
Mayfield is coming off arguably the best performance of his entire career.
This is a great opportunity to show everyone that Mayfield can be the long term solution at quarterback in Cleveland.