The biggest weakness of the Raiders defense has been the secondary. The Raiders allow the third highest yard per attempt in the NFL and are the only team without an interception.
And now they are losing healthy bodies.
Rookie cornerback Gareon Conley may not play the rest of this season. He was drafted in the first round as an immediate help to the secondary, but he hasn’t been able to fight off a shin injury.
David Amerson, the team’s top corner entering the season, has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Bills with a foot injury.
And now safety Karl Joseph, who has not practiced the last two days, is doubtful for the game with a groin injury.
So the Raiders will likely take on Buffalo without three of the four best defensive backs on the roster.
TJ Carrie, who has been a solid starter at corner all season, will likely be joined by Dexter McDonald, as Sean Smith has played his way off the field. Replacing Joseph could be Shalolm Luani, the Raiders seventh-round pick in 2017.
Luani has mostly played on special teams this year; his biggest play came when he recovered the Titans onside kick attempt on the season’s first play.
If there is a team to face with a beat up secondary, Buffalo might be it. The Bills want to run the ball every play.
Despite having his worst year, Bills running back LeSean McCoy is the playmaker for Buffalo. He has one of the heaviest workloads in the NFL, as he averages the eighth most rushes per game, while also leading the Bills in targets.
McCoy maybe the only scary threat in the passing game. The team’s leader in receiving yards, tight end Charles Clay, will not play due to a knee injury. McCoy and Clay are the only two players with 200 receiving yards for Buffalo.
Finding a way to slow McCoy down in the passing game may prove to be difficult, but outside of him, it is the Bills weakness against the Raiders weakness.
Stopping the Buffalo run game may be how Oakland wins this game. The Raiders rank 12th in the NFL in defensive yards per carry. Now they have run stopping NaVorro Bowman at linebacker.
The defense that doesn’t pose much a threat against the pass may close the year as a great run stopping defense.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.