Mack and Irvin Will Decide Which Gunslinger Prevails
Raiders edge-rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin aren’t taking the NFL by storm, statistically; however, the Baltimore Ravens experienced the eye of the storm in Week 4.
Mack and Irvin terrorized the Ravens’ offensive tackles through four quarters, forcing Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco into enough poor decisions to ultimately take home the victory.
"“Well, they always were right, they just played hard,” Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com. “The offense chipped them just like they usually do, but they just played hard. They play hard every week and some weeks they’ll have better games and you’ll feel them more than others, but at the same time, with Bruce (Irvin) and Khalil (Mack), those are two really good football players who really play hard all the time. So, they’re always going to be out there, but you really felt them a lot more last week.”"
Now preparing to face off against two struggling offensive tackles in San Diego, the Mack and Irvin could have a similar impact against Rivers and the Chargers.
Chargers left tackle King Dunlap, who missed the last two weeks due to injuries, is listed as questionable (illness) despite fully participating in Friday’s practice. With just 136 snaps under his belt this season, Dunlap will struggle to brush the rust off against All-Pro Mack.
Opposite of Dunlap, Chargers right tackle Joe Barksdale, also listed as questionable (foot) for Sunday, has earned a below average pass blocking grade (67.5) through four games this season, per PFF.com.
Look for both Mack and Irvin to pick up where they left off in Baltimore, and, in turn, Rivers will have a much harder time going score for score with quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense.