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Key Matchups: Littleton, Raiders defense need to keep Josh Allen in check


The Silver and Black will be hosting the undefeated Buffalo Bills this Sunday in what should be a huge test for the young Raiders, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

With the Raiders going into Week 4 with multiple injuries, consistency and execution will be key for them to pick up a win. Buffalo has been playing lights-out on offense, and the front seven will have to find a way to contain the Bills' backfield.

There will be a lot of interesting battles within the game that will more than likely affect the score of the game.

Here are a few key matchups to watch out for Sunday's showdown in Allegiant Stadium.

Trayvon Mullen vs. Stefon Diggs

On paper this definitely has to be one of the more exciting matchups going into Sunday.

Trayvon Mullen and Stefon Diggs are two of the fastest guys on each respective team, and they could be lined up against each other for most of the game. Both players had impressive performances last Sunday, with Mullen having four passes deflected against the Patriots and Diggs with 49 yards and a touchdown against the Rams, averaging a little over 12 yards per reception.

Mullen has had his moments to shine this season against Pro Bowl receivers like Emmanuel Sanders and Julian Edelman. Now he will be going up against the man who caught the Minneapolis Miracle two years ago.

Diggs is coming off a 1130-yard, six-touchdown season with the Vikings before being traded to the Bills this offseason. Since arriving to Buffalo, he has flourished in their offensive scheme with Josh Allen as his quarterback. Diggs' 288 receiving yards this season currently lead the AFC. He has also accounted for two touchdowns this season.

The young cornerback is definitely looking forward to covering Diggs and continuing to establish himself in the league.

"It's going to be a good challenge this week," said Mullen. "Knowing he's a great receiver, I know he's top five in receiving yards right now and it makes me more excited to go against him. It's going to be a competitive matchup, and I'm excited and ready for it.

Jon Gruden vs. Sean McDermott

Gruden and McDermott's relationship goes all the way back to 1998 when McDermott was brought in the Philadelphia Eagles scouting department as Gruden was leaving the Eagles organization as their offensive coordinator to become the head coach of the Raiders.

"We both came through Philadelphia, he came after me," said Jon Gruden. "They kicked me out of the Vet before (Sean) McDermott got there. We've been good friends for a long time."

Twenty-two years after their first interaction, the two head coaches will go to battle in Allegiant Stadium this Sunday.

Both coaches have been able to find success in the NFL up to this point in their careers. Gruden has been regarded as an offensive mastermind and won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. Before becoming the Bills head coach McDermott turned a dormant Carolina Panthers defense into an elite unit lead by Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis that reached Super Bowl 50 in 2015.

When both Gruden and McDermott were asked what is the biggest threat of your opponent on Sunday, they named each other without hesitation.

"I think No. 1, their head coach, [Sean] McDermott has done a great job," said Coach Gruden. "He's a hell of a football guy, this McDermott. I like everything about him. He's one of the guys I respect the most in this business. He's a grinder, he's a loyal, hardworking, hard-nosed old-school football coach."

"My respect for Coach Gruden is off the charts," McDermott said. "As you mentioned the greatest strength, I believe he is. He's putting in place what he's put in place to this point, him and Mike Mayock as well, I think they're shaping a team to play well now but also in the future."

Cory Litteton vs. Josh Allen

Cory Littleton is due for a big game.

The Silver and Black defense will have the task of going up against a dynamic playmaker in Josh Allen. Allen has been having an MVP-caliber season to this point throwing for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season.

Veteran linebacker Cory Littleton will have the challenge of making sure the young defense will be ready for Allen. The Raiders are coming off a game where they surrendered 250 yards to the Patriots. Littleton will need to keep himself and his teammates accountable of minimizing on mistakes against Allen, who is capable of making plays on the run.

Allen is aware of what to expect on the other side of the ball and is looking forward to a scrappy game with the Raiders defense.

"They're very young, very talented, very athletic players," said Josh Allen. "It's not going to be a defense who's going to lay down for anybody so we have to put our big boys pads on and be ready for that."

The Raiders return to the field at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for a walkthrough as they get ready for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

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