On Sunday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders will host the Jacksonville Jaguars for their very last home game ever at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. There are important matchups to consider when trying to determine a winner, but the defensive coordinator likely holds the keys to victory. Hot-seat coach, Paul Guenther, must have a well-schemed game in order for the Raiders to leave Sunday with a victory. Not only that, but offensive tackle Kolton Miller will need to excel containing the Jags pass rush.
Oakland Raiders Week 15 Matchup: Kolton Miller and Paul Guenther Hold Keys to Victory
Defensive Coordinator Play-Calling Will Likely Be Key
Paul Guenther has been the recent member of the Raiders’ organization to come under fire from the fan base and rightfully so. The defense of the Raiders currently ranks 28th in yards per game (376), 29th in points per game (28), and are tied for 28th in takeaways (14). Some people would try and defend Gunther, citing the lack of talent and plethora of injuries, but at this point those are just empty excuses. It’s time for Gunther to call the game of his life against a Jacksonville team that has essentially quit on head coach Doug Marrone. No one realistically expects the Raiders to pitch a shutout this Sunday, but surrendering any more than 20 points to the reeling Jaguars would all but seal the fate of Paul Gunther.
The Other Key Matchup
Kolton Miller vs. Yannick Ngakoue
Kolton Miller is one of the lone bright spots on the Oakland Raiders’ offense this season. After looking like a bust his rookie season, Miller has bounced back strong this year. He’s only allowed four sacks this season and been called for four penalties, on 808 snaps played. Night and day for the guy that allowed 12 sacks last season. He’ll be charged with slowing down premier pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue has six sacks on the season and three forced fumbles. He’s been a top-tier pass rusher since bursting on to the scene in 2016 and will need to be contained if the Raiders want to sustain drives on the offensive side of the ball. It’s crazy to think that six sacks and three forced fumbles are considered a down year for the impending free agent, but Ngakoue can flip the switch at any moment. Miller will need to be on his A-game this Sunday.
After stringing together three loses, the Oakland Raiders have all but been eliminated from playoff contention. A season marred by injuries, and inconsistent play on both sides of the ball has frustrated Raiders fans to no end. The fan base simply expected more out of the team, rebuilding or not, during the team’s last season in Oakland. All is not lost though. Hopefully, this team understands the privilege it has been to play in the Coliseum and comes out with a passion and fire that’s been lacking for the majority of the season. While the Raiders may not be playing for the playoffs for the rest of the year, they’ll certainly be playing for the sanity of the fanatics that we are.