While the Las Vegas Raiders are trying to secure their third win of the season, the Denver Broncos are also looking to rebound.
The Raiders got their first win of the season against the Broncos in Allegiant Stadium, 32-23. Seven weeks later, the Silver and Black travel to Empower Field at Mile High Stadium for a rematch. Both are coming off losses, and the intensity could be high between the AFC West foes. The Raiders currently hold a five-game winning streak against the Broncos.
Here are a few matchups to watch for heading into the Week 11 affair.
Maxx Crosby vs. Broncos rushing attack
Not only is Maxx Crosby one of the Raiders' premier pass rushers, he's developed into an elite run stopper as well.
Crosby, along with his seven sacks this season, has a league-leading 14 tackles for loss. His 88.8 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus is the highest of all edge rushers this season, and his 90.8 PFF overall grade is the second highest of the position group. While he's been drawing a lot of attention from offenses, he's still found a way to be "one of the most disruptive players in the NFL," according to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
"Whether it's the tackles for losses, the sacks, the ability to set the edge, the versatility – it's been really, really pleasant to be around him as a person," Graham said of coaching Crosby this season. "I didn't know much about him as a person, but then as a football player, he's doing everything we're asking him to do. He's disruptive out there on the field. He does draw a lot of attention, but most good players in this league, they draw a lot of attention. He's earned that. It's been really fun to coach him."
The Broncos' rushing attack is led by two-time Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon, who was held to a season-low eight yards against the Raiders in Week 4. Since the two teams met, the Broncos also acquired Latavius Murray to fill in for injured Javonte Williams. Murray, a Pro Bowler with the Raiders in 2015, has recorded three rushing touchdowns this season.
Josh Jacobs vs. Broncos defense
Josh Jacobs is on pace to have the best statistical season of his NFL career.
Through nine games, Jacobs has accumulated 821 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He's the 15th running back in NFL history to record at least seven rushing touchdowns in each of their first four seasons. Additionally, he's averaging 6.5 yards a catch in the passing game – showcasing his versatility to the team.
This Broncos front seven that Jacobs will be facing looks a lot different than it did Week 4. Denver lost both of their edge rushers, trading Bradley Chubb to Miami and losing Randy Gregory for an extended time due to injury.
Even with the two losses on the defensive line, the Broncos defense has been finding success. They've allowed the fewest points of any team this season, the second fewest yards and the ninth fewest rushing yards allowed. While their defense is hard-nosed, I'd expect for Jacobs to still be involved heavily in this week's game plan. The running back had 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns when the teams met earlier this year.
Amik Robertson vs. Jerry Jeudy
The Broncos should definitely have Amik Robertson on their radar.
After allowing a 32-yard reception to Jerry Jeudy in the second quarter during Week 4, a fire was lit under Robertson that hasn't gone out since. The fourth-year cornerback has made the most of the opportunities coming his way due to injuries in the secondary. He's recorded 20 total tackles, three passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble on the season.
The last time the Raiders played the Broncos, Robertson recovered a fumble for a 68-yard touchdown – which is the most yards on a fumble return this season. The cornerback is seemingly trending upward by the week, with a 79.7 overall PFF grade against the Indianapolis Colts.
"I just think his competitiveness always shows up," Graham said last Tuesday. "Again, he's one of the guys that's gotten his hands on a few balls here, whether it's the interception or the fumble recovery, and we knew that from college when I evaluated him coming out of college when I was at the Giants. He's a ballhawk. You're seeing that stuff show up."
Robertson covering Jeudy, who is currently day-to-day with an ankle injury, was a physically demanding matchup for both players in their last encounter, and the same can be expected Sunday if Jeudy plays.
View the best photos from practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as the Raiders prepare for their Week 11 road matchup against the Denver Broncos.