FBG says: Neutral matchup. In week three, offseason acquisition Richie Incognito will enter the fold at left guard for the Oakland Raiders. Incognito missed the entire 2018 season, but when he last played for the Buffalo Bills in 2017, Incognito consistently ranked amongst the league's best interior offensive linemen. The impact that one year on the sidelines will have on Incognito's production is unknown, but he will be starting in place of one of the league's worst offensive linemen, Jordan Devey, in week three. Incognito's inclusion in the starting lineup will undoubtedly serve to improve an otherwise mediocre unit. Behind the offensive line, rookie running back Josh Jacobs has impressed through two NFL starts. In his NFL debut, Jacobs neared 100 yards on the ground and would have eclipsed that total in his week two if not for dehydration issues and lingering groin injury that kept him sidelined for a portion of the second half. Head coach Jon Gruden has made his intentions clear: he plans on getting Jacobs 20+ touches as often as possible throughout his rookie season. Josh Jacobs is an undeniably-talented running back poised to see near-bell-cow levels of involvement in the Raiders offense. Even when Oaklands' offensive line fails, as they did for the majority of the season opener against the Denver Broncos, Jacobs proved he can break through the defense for chunk-plays to salvage a respectable rushing performance.
Minnesota's run defense has allowed an almost perfectly-average 4.3 yards-per-carry, good for 17th in the NFL. In a week one domination of the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings allowed just 50 rushing yards to opposing running backs Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith. In week two, a 21-16 loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings allowed 144 yards on the ground to opposing running backs, including 116 to starter Aaron Jones. Minnesota's run-defense is particularly interesting to analyze, as it is littered with players who have historically been strong defending the run. Through two weeks in the 2019 season, a handful of players, particularly on the defensive line and in the linebacking corps, have struggled to stop the run. At defensive tackle, Linval Joseph has long been one the league's premier run-stopping defensive tackles. Now, entering his 9th NFL season, Joseph's numbers have dropped off significantly from where they have been in recent years. One explanation for this drop in production is that Joseph is playing alongside a notably-weak run defender at defensive tackle, Shamar Stephen, who may be dragging him down. At linebacker, four-time pro-bowler Anthony Barr has struggled through the first two weeks of the 2019 season. Much like Joseph, these struggles are unlike anything Barr has shown to this point in his career. Minnesota's defense finished the 2018 season as a middle-of-the-road unit. The 2019 season has picked up right where last year left off, but there are likely areas of improvement that may take the Vikings' run defense to the next level as a whole.