On Saturday afternoon, the Las Vegas Raiders will host the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. There are several important matchups to consider when trying to determine a winner, but Trayvon Mullen is likely the biggest key to a Raiders victory. Below is a breakdown of some Miami Dolphins vs Las Vegas Raiders key matchups.
Trayvon Mullen and Starting Quarterback Keys To a Week 16 Raiders Win
Trayvon Mullen vs Tua Tagovailoa
Last week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers may have been the worst game of Trayvon Mullen’s NFL career. He had a handful of pass interference and defensive holding penalties that proved to be very costly for the Raiders. Mullen also allowed eight completions on 11 targets for 94 yards. This all while primarily covering an undrafted wide receiver in Jalen Guyton. Mullen has shown lockdown-corner potential in the past. The Raiders will need a bounce-back week from him if they hope to have any shot in this game.
The career of Tua Tagovailoa has gotten off to an amazing start thus far. In his eight starts, Tagovailoa has already led his team to six wins. Two of those wins came via game-winning drives. While his passing production has seen its ups and downs, no one can deny the end results. With Tagovailoa starting, the Dolphins are a playoff-bound team that no one wants a part of. The Raiders will need to find some way to pressure Tagovailoa and force him into making some errant throws.
Raiders Starting Quarterback vs Xavien Howard
At the time of this writing, it is still unknown who will be the Raiders starting quarterback this Saturday. Derek Carr left the game last weekend with a groin injury (he practiced fully on Wednesday) and was replaced by Marcus Mariota. Despite losing the game, the offense looked much more explosive and dynamic with Mariota at the helm. Carr has always been limited by his lack of mobility and athleticism. After what is soon to be seven seasons with Carr, it might finally be time for the Raiders to move on. The Philadelphia Eagles are ready to move off Carson Wentz after four seasons, and he has arguably been more successful than Carr. A fresh start for both parties might be just what the doctor ordered.
Xavien Howard is easily one of the five best cornerbacks in the NFL. He currently leads the league in interceptions (nine). Howard also has 17 pass deflections, a career high for him with two games still left to play. He leads a Dolphins defense that has allowed a league best 18 points per game. The defense also leads the league in turnovers with 26 on the season. If the Raiders are off in the passing game, then it will be a long Saturday for Las Vegas.
What a collapse the second half of the season has been, yet again. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have a lot of work to do this off-season. The Paul Guenther hire proved to be a terrible one, and the team seems to be stuck in neutral at the quarterback position. The Raiders cannot keep having these late season collapses year after year. Something has to give.
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