Coming fresh off the bye week, the Las Vegas Raiders have the chance to win their third consecutive game for the second time this season.
The 5-2 Raiders head out to the East Coast to face the New York Giants, coming off a last-minute 20-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants will also have the challenge of playing the Raiders on a short week after their Monday Night Football primetime game. Regardless of their record, the Giants still have a group of capable young talent that can make plays including quarterback Daniel Jones, Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry and rookie sensation Kadarius Toney.
Here's a few key matchups for the Raiders' Week 9 game.
Darren Waller vs. James Bradberry
There are few tight ends in this league that are so special they warrant coverage from a cornerback and not a linebacker or safety. Darren Waller and Travis Kelce are two of those tight ends.
In the Giants' previous game against the Chiefs, Bradberry played phenomenal in coverage against Kelce. The emerging superstar cornerback held the All-Pro tight end to 27 receiving yards, the second fewest yards he's had in a game since 2019. Additionally, Bradberry had four tackles, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery against the defending AFC champions.
Life won't get easier for Bradberry this Sunday against Waller. The sixth-year pro – who missed the Raiders previous game with a minor ankle injury, according to Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia – was at practice Wednesday coming off the bye week. The star tight end is still undoubtedly one of Carr's main target in this offense, second on the team in receptions behind Hunter Renfrow.
It will not be a surprise to see Waller draw a main matchup from the opposing team's best defensive back, which he has all this season. Bradberry – who was ranked No. 74 on the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2021 list – is the best man for the job on the Giants defense.
Devontae Booker vs. the Raiders defense
Another intriguing matchup to watch out for is a potential "revenge game" of Devontae Booker, if you want to call it that.
With the ankle injury that has kept Giants star running back Saquon Barkley sidelined, Booker has stepped up for his new team. He's rushed for 216 yards, has 17 catches for 138 receiving yards and three total touchdowns this season. What the running back is doing now in New York is no surprise considering he did the same thing last season behind Josh Jacobs. Booker maximized on his one-year deal with the Raiders, having his best statistical season in Las Vegas since his rookie season in 2016 with the Broncos.
Whether Barkley plays or not, Booker is versatile weapon that will need to be accounted for among the Raiders defense. While the Silver and Black have struggled in stopping the run this season, Booker see some familiar faces in Maxx Crosby, Johnathan Hankins and Johnathan Abram that are very familiar with the running back's skillset.
Wealth is health
No NFL team is at 100 percent going into the Week 9 of the season.
Injuries always play a huge factor in this game. And even though the Raiders will be a little fresher coming off a bye week, with only two players on the injury report to start the week, many pieces are still on injured reserve.
Meanwhile, the Giants have six of their starters on the injury report for Wednesday – and three players in COVID protocols and 15 more currently on IR.
The Raiders return to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center after the bye week to prepare for their Week 9 matchup against the New York Giants.