Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: 3 Bold Predictions in Week 17
Maxx Crosby Breaks Raiders Rookie Season Sack Record
One of the biggest highlights of this Raiders season besides Josh Jacobs has been rookie DE Maxx Crosby. Drafted in the 4th round out of Eastern Michigan, Crosby has been a lightning rod for a defense that was mocked for their inability to get to the quarterback just a year ago.
His game against the Bengals where he recorded 4 sacks, set a Raiders single game record by a rookie and made him only the 4th rookie in NFL history to record 4 sacks in one game.
Denver has somewhat struggled protecting the quarterback throughout the season. It’s never an easy task when you have someone as immobile as Joe Flacco back there, but the Broncos offensive line ranks in the top 15 for sacks given up this season. On top of that, they have a Pass Blocking Win Rate of just 54%, which is good for 27th in the league.
That basically means that just under 50% of the time, one of their lineman is getting beat within 2.5 seconds of the ball being snapped. Since Rookie quarterback Drew Lock has been back there though, they’ve had better success getting the ball out quicker and letting him use his feet when he needs to.
Crosby has far out done his expectations this year, posting 8.5 sacks this season. He is only 2.5 away from setting the single season sack record by a Raiders rookie, which is 10.5 set by Greg Townsend and Anthony smith who are both tied. We can surely expect Denver to double team and do whatever it takes to keep the rising rookie at bay.
But I expect him to create ways to beat them around the edge and not only secure the record, but help secure a win for the Silver and Black.