Oakland Raiders: Key Matchups Worth Watching vs. Cleveland Browns

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Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens receiver Kamar Aiken (11) is defended by Oakland Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie (38) at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Receivers vs. Oakland Secondary

Setting aside the fact that Josh McCown isn’t a high quality NFL quarterback, Cleveland doesn’t have a lot of established weapons on offense. Working with Johnny Manziel last week, Travis Benjamin began to emerge, snagging three touchdown passes. But with McCown going out early in the first game with a concussion, none of Cleveland’s receivers have developed a lot of on-field chemistry with him.

Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins make up Cleveland’s biggest offensive threats, but that’s not saying very much. As a team, Cleveland is averaging a tick over 200 yards per game through the air and have one of the league’s least potent passing attacks.

Part of that is the instability of the quarterback position — something the Browns are hoping is remedied with the return of McCown.

Oakland’s secondary has had trouble covering anybody so far this year. Against Baltimore’s unheralded receiving corps, the Raiders’ secondary was lit up for almost 400 yards. Veteran Steve Smith led the way with 150 yards, but the Raiders struggled to keep all of Baltimore’s receivers — most of whom are virtual unknowns — in check.

Coming into a game against another team with an unheralded group of receivers — certainly, Cleveland’s receivers are second tier in the NFL — the Raiders are hoping that their young group of corners can step up and play with some confidence, and play some lockdown defense.

Oakland’s corners are going to need to step up their game in a big way, and they’re going to need to do it quickly. They can’t rely on their offense to outscore their opponents week in and week out and will eventually need to make some stops. This would be a good week to start.

Next: Battle of Field Position