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Versus: Josh Jacobs has been keeping defenses up at night

Regrouped and refreshed heading into Week 7.

The Las Vegas Raiders return to their home stadium after a much-needed bye week, now tasked with getting back on track against the Houston Texans after dropping a one-point nail-bitter to the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. This Texans squad is highlighted by a pair of rookies that has been as advertised in the Lone Star State. The Raiders have some veteran players that can perhaps overcome the young team from Houston.

"You wouldn't know today this is the first day after a bye or anything like that," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said Wednesday morning. "This feels like a Wednesday. We want to come in here and get our job done the right way. Really love the attitude and demeanor of our team. Our captains have set a great example for that and that's what I think they expect of the locker room – and that's what they're going to get."

Read through for the top Week 7 matchups to look forward to inside Allegiant Stadium.

Josh Jacobs vs. the Texans defense

Josh Jacobs has been the cream of the crop among running backs in the NFL this season. And that'll be a problem for the Houston Texans.

Even with the Raiders on a bye last week, Jacobs is still top three in the league in rushing yards, rushing first downs, rushing yards after contact and broken tackles. The fourth-year back out of Alabama has been running like a man on mission in his past two games, as he continues to thrive in his role as the workhorse back.

"Josh has done a great job in terms of accepting his role and obviously, playing well in his role," said offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi. "He played a little bit more on third down this past week against Kansas City, and that's a tribute to him in terms of knowing that protection, knowing the run schemes and knowing the passing game. ... You hand Josh Jacobs the ball and he does a good job reading the run, reads it the right way, stays true, follows Jak [Jakob Johnson], follows the tackles' blocks, follows the guards' blocks.

"He's done a good job and he's taking care of the football. I think that's the main thing that we like to see from running back, or anybody who carries the football. Are they taking care of it? Is the ball coming out? We preach ball security ad nauseam in here because it's important to win games. And he's done a great job of that."

Things continue to look optimistic for Jacobs with the Texans on the horizon. He's averaged nearly 150 rushing yards his past two games, and that's not accounting for Jacobs' evolved role in the passing game, notching 129 receiving yards with a 94.4 percent catch rate through five games.

The Texans could likely lean on the services of defensive lineman Jonathan Greenard, who leads his team in tackles for loss (five), to help contain Jacobs. Greenard also led the Texans in sacks last season.

Denzel Perryman vs. Dameon Pierce

This is honestly the perfect matchup where two very similar builds and styles clash.

Dameon Pierce hasn't taken much time to introduce himself to the NFL, promptly taking over as the lead back in Houston. The rookie from Florida is currently eighth in the league in rushing yards (412) and is the league leader in broken tackles (16). The young back has a hard-nosed, powerful running style – very reminiscent of the Raiders very own running back Josh Jacobs.

"[H]e's dynamic. He runs violently, I mean violent," defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said about Pierce on Tuesday. "He's a hard tackle. It's almost like he says, 'Leave one guy in the hole, I'll take care of him. Go block the other guys.' He's really impressive, especially for a guy that's so young. I mean, he's running the ball with intentions.

"And again, as a defensive coach, you appreciate that part of it and you appreciate the challenge."

On the other side of the ball against Pierce, the Raiders have a linebacker that has the same hard-nosed, powerful profile in Denzel Perryman. The Pro Bowler has missed two games this season, but has still been productive with 16 total tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack.

The linebacker may be crucial to the Raiders' efforts to stop Pierce and the Texans' rushing attack. The Silver and Black has allowed the second-least amount of rushing yards this season.

Davante Adams vs. Derek Stingley Jr.

Another young, standout cornerback will be facing Davante Adams this Sunday.

Adams has had battles this season against rising star defensive backs such as Asante Samuel Jr. and Patrick Surtain II, with Derek Stingley Jr. adding his name to the list. The Texans took the former LSU cornerback with the third pick in the 2022 Draft, and has made immediate contributions to their defense. He has a 83.4 PFF tackling grade with five pass deflections and an interception so far.

"Stingley's very sticky in coverage," McDaniels said of the rookie cornerback. "Got really good transition ability, good ball skills. He's really learning how to do it at our level now. He's a guy you're going to have to be aware of in coverage, where he's at, what he's doing."

While the rookie has shown glimpses of greatness, he's still adjusting to the league, allowing a 80.3 passer rating when targeted this season. Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising for Derek Carr to take his shots when Stingley Jr. is shadowing No. 17.

Head inside Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center to view the best photos from the Silver and Black's Wednesday practice.

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