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Scouting Report: Deonte Banks vs. Davante Adams among key matchups


Here are the key matchups that could dictate the outcome of Sunday's game between the Giants and Raiders in Las Vegas:

Maxx Crosby vs. the Giants' RT

Maxx Crosby is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Crosby spends more than 80% of his snaps lined up on the left side of the defense (over the opponent's right tackle). He rarely leaves the field, playing a ridiculous 97.6% of the team's defensive snaps. Only Aidan Hutchinson has had more pass rushing snaps than Crosby this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Crosby is tied for the NFL lead with Aidan Hutchinson with 52 total pressures. His 17.8% pressure rate is 12th-best in the NFL and his 6.5 sacks is tied for eighth. He isn't just effective against the pass as he's tied for the second with 10 tackles for a loss. PFF has tracked him for 21 stops (solo tackles or sack that leads to an offensive failure) this year, which is tied for sixth. He plays with a ridiculous motor and is flying around the field on every play as though it is his last. He is long, powerful, violent with his hands and athletic.

He could be lining up against three different players – Evan Neal, Tyre Phillips, or Justin Pugh. Neal has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, making Phillips the starting right tackle. According to PFF, Phillips has not allowed a sack (with only six total pressures) over those starts. If Andrew Thomas is able to return and start at left tackle, it might be possible that the versatile Justin Pugh is moved from left to right tackle. It will be important to track practice this week to see who might line up against Crosby.

Davante Adams vs. Deonte Banks

Adams only has 47 receptions for 539 yards this season, but he is still the most dangerous player on the Raiders' offense. He has grumbled about a lack of targets this season (even though his 81 targets ranks sixth in the NFL), so it would not surprise me to see in the first game of a new regime that the Raiders go out of their way to get him the ball throughout the game. In three of his last four games, Adams has had only 4, 5, and 6 targets. In those four games, he has only 142 combined receiving yards.

On the season, Adams is 15th in the league in receiving yards and 13th in receptions. He only has two catches of 25+ yards this year, and last week against the Jets he was overthrown on two double-moves that could have went for huge gains. He has been better in the intermediate area of the field with 12 catches of 15+ yards, which is tied for 12th in the NFL.

Adams has the skills of a true "X" receiver. He wins consistently on isolation routes, but is still able to make difficult catches in tight coverage due to his strength, hands, and body control. Adams is only averaging three yards gained after the catch per reception this year, which ranks 95th in the league. PFF has tracked Adams with only three drops this season.

The Giants have lined up Deonte Banks against the opponent's best receiver for much of the last two weeks. He's had to cover Terry McLaurin and Garrett Wilson in consecutive weeks, so it's logical for the Giants to use the same strategy against Adams. Banks has seven passes defended this season and allowed seven passes of 15+ yards. He has also been flagged for six penalties, three of which that have been accepted.

Last season against the Vikings, the Giants utilized a lot of double-teams against Justin Jefferson and I wonder if they will shift the defense to Adams in a similar fashion this week. They can utilize a safety over the top (with Banks in press at the line) or they can use a bracket, which risks the possibility of Adams going vertical and splitting the two defenders.

View rare photos of the history between the Giants and Raiders ahead of their Week 9 matchup.


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