Browns, Raiders Defenses Both Stink, But Raiders Don't Have Myles Garrett
If Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett wants to make his case for Defensive Player of the Year, he simply needs to point at his team's opponent this week, the Las Vegas Raiders.
Garrett has nine sacks and four of those were strip sacks, all resulting in turnovers, plus the one fumble he recovered that he didn't cause.
The Raiders have seven sacks as a team and a league worst three takeaways.
Garrett is outproducing the Raiders in both categories by himself. That's not including the four interceptions teams have thrown as a direct result of Garrett's pressure.
Now, it's important to note the Raiders have played one fewer game than the Browns have to this point, but the fact that Garrett is outproducing them on both fronts with an extra game is still damning.
The Browns and Raiders have two of the worst defenses in the NFL this year regarding points per game and yards allowed through the air. The Raiders allow 32.8 point and 283.8 passing yards per game while the Browns give up 31.6 points and 288.1 passing yards, which are both bottom five in the league.
Between the overwhelming lack of a consistent pass rush from the Raiders and their inability to stop the passing game, Baker Mayfield could be in line for another good performance as he comes off his 293 yard, five touchdown performance against the Cincinnati Bengals that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Mayfield gets a poor defense that will hopefully allow him to continue to build his confidence and generate some momentum before the team has their bye week. The Bengals are tied for the second least pressures for any team that has played seven games.
The Raiders have one really good pass rusher in Maxx Crosby, who is only in his second year. He has four of the team's seven sacks and leading the team with 9 pressure. Clelin Ferrell and Maurice Hurst are getting better, but the team just doesn't generate much pressure, averaging just eight per contest. The Browns are averaging 8.7, which isn't great either and middle of the road for the league.
By rate, the Raiders have a higher pressure rate than the Browns, 20.2 percent versus 19.5 percent, which highlights how little the rest of the team of doing save for Garrett.
By contrast, the Pittsburgh Steelers are leading the league with 14.7 pressures per game at 37.1 percent, followed by the Baltimore Ravens with 13, getting pressure 29.2 percent of the time. Not surprisingly, they are two of the league's best defenses.
The Raiders are giving up 6.3 yards per play, which third to last. The Browns yield 5.6, which is 17th in the league.
If there is good news for the Browns and Raiders, they do protect their own quarterbacks at a reasonably high level. But that might only further expose the lack of defense these two groups play, opening the possibility that this game will be a shootout.
The mere presence of Garrett might tip the scales in favor for the Browns, because he has been so dominant. The Browns have won every game in which he caused the opposing quarterback to turnover the ball.