Casey Hayward v Keenan Allen
Starting off we have the number one corner and the number one receiver. However, this isn’t just another best corner vs best receiver match-up. Casey Hayward and Keenan Allen were teammates for the last five seasons and undoubtedly saw a lot of each other at practice. Not only that, but Gus Bradley was the Chargers defensive coordinator so Keenan has experience against this scheme.
Going into week four Keenan Allen has just over 250 yards receiving and a touchdown. In last year’s matchups, Keenan totaled 120 yards and a touchdown on ten catches. That stat line may not seem too crazy against the 29th ranked defense, but he missed a majority of the second game with an injury.
On the other side, Casey Hayward has had a phenomenal start to the year. So far, Hayward has allowed only one catch for -1 yards while in zone coverage. That catch came against the Miami Dolphins and resulted in a safety. For those of you that look at PFF stats, he is the highest-rated corner in the league while in zone coverage.
These two will undoubtedly put on a show when lined up from each other.
Tackles vs Ends
Both teams feature top edge threats through three weeks of this NFL season and rookie offensive tackles.
For the Raiders Alex Leatherwood will have his biggest test of the season, Joey Bosa. In week two Leatherwood matched up against TJ Watt, but both players ended up hurt before the final whistle. The rookie tackle is off to a wishy-washy start of the season. Up till now, he has had two false starts and two holding calls against him. Aside from the penalties he has allowed one sack to Watt.
The aforementioned Joey Bosa is one of the best edge rushers in the league. Joey Bosa has one and a half sacks through three weeks along with ten total tackles and four QB hits. His pass-rush ability is deep and can, and will, beat the tackle in a number of ways. Most notably with finesse moves whether that be with a spin move or a swim move. Either way, the tackle is left to question their ability often.
As for the Chargers rookie, Rashawn Slater will match up against both Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby. The ends have switched sides to get the most favorable matchup and will continue into this week. The rookie has yet to be penalized or miss a snap through three weeks. His most notable matchup is former DROY Chase Young. In this matchup, he kept Young from sacking Herbert once.
As stated above Yannick and Maxx will be putting the rookie through the pass rush gauntlet in their upcoming matchup. Crosby currently leads the league in QB pressure and hits and is always making his presence known. Yannick Ngakoue has also been in the backfield but has yet to get to the QB before the ball is thrown.
Carr vs Herbert
The last matchup isn’t direct but is important.
The NFL has been put on notice. Carr has been the most disrespected and underrated QB in the league has shown up for his team and showed out. So far Carr has done nothing but put on a show for fans and has averaged eight 20+ yard passes a game. Many analysts are starting to realize that Carr is no joke and will expose the opposing defense when given the chance.
Justin Herbert is coming off an OROY season and has shown no signs of slowing down. The Chargers front office has done a good job of surrounding him with playmakers and he is making full use of the opportunity. Number two wide receiver Mike Williams looks like he could be a number one if not for Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler continues to be a dual-threat back, and Jared Cook is a quality vet at tight end.
The matchup between these two will be quite the show and should be a thriller from start to end.