Dec 7, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) celebrates behind San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) after a Raiders sack against the 49ers during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
With many key defensive players being shut down for the remainder of the 2014 for the Oakland Raiders, fifth overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Khalil Mack’s status for Week 17 was in doubt as after a strong game against the Buffalo Bills the linebacker was questionable heading into the weekend.
Those worries have been lifted as the Raiders ruled their top defensive player as active going into the season finale with the Denver Broncos, giving them a boost even if a long list of players are sitting down to take on a motivated Broncos team on the road this afternoon.
It remains to be seen if Mack’s hamstring will limit him in terms of snaps or performance, but after having a great 2014 season there is no a chance for the fifth overall pick to make his final bid for Defensive Rookie of the Year by making big plays against Peyton Manning. The Raiders will be up against it in terms of stopping the quarterback and running back CJ Anderson, but having Mack on defense does help their chances as the rookie has been their best player all season.
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One more big game would only increase excitement surrounding Mack, but looking to win their first game of 2014 on the road as well as to spoil the Broncos hopes of getting a first round playoff bye, the Raiders defense is going to be the key to the win. If Mack is at full speed don’t be shocked if an improved Raiders pass rush gives a struggling Broncos offensive line plenty of issues in what is the final game of 2014 for Oakland.