Oakland Raiders now ready for the tough part of schedule

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Oct 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) intercepts a pass intended for Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Expected defensive stars

At the same time, there are other on the team that are already consistently playing like the stars they are. On defense, let’s start with Charles Woodson, who’s come up with crucial plays in back to back games while playing hurt. Khalil Mack has been as disruptive as the come with three sacks in the last two games after the Raiders started running the 3-4.

Opposing teams are having a tough time trying to run the ball up the middle these days with Dan Williams at nose tackle. Since Williams has been 3-4 nose tackle, the Raiders have given up 3.2 yards per carry as opposed to 4.2 when they were the 4-3. And along with Justin Tuck with his two sacks, linebacker Malcolm Smith is No. 7 in the NFL in tackles.

In the secondary, it looks like 2013 1st-round pick D.J. Hayden has taken a step back this year. So while there’s disappointment there, T.J. Carrie is leading all second-year corners in allowing just 0.68 yards per coverage snap. So the defensive players the Raiders were expected to play well are doing so too.

Next: Added help on offense