Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m., at O.co Coliseum.
49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Raiders OLB Khalil Mack
Tale of the tape:
Staley (74): 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, eighth season, Central Michigan
Mack (52): 6-foot-3, 252 pounds, rookie season, Buffalo
Joe Staley ranks among the NFL’s best left tackles. He’s a three-time All-Pro, done in as many seasons. This season, however, he hasn’t lived up to his own lofty standard.
He isn’t playing bad by any stretch, but the 49ers offensive line has been inconsistent in run blocking and is part of a unit that has allowed 38 sacks. Staley has allowed four in 12 games, as many has he had all of last season.
Pro Football Focus ranks him No. 22 in pass-blocking efficiency, with 25 total pressures on the season. In 2013, he was second in that category.
The Raiders need outside linebacker Khalil Mack to increase that total. Mack has been a solid pass rusher this season, but has just one sack to show for it. Creating pressure is good, but sacks are true impact plays the Raiders haven’t made enough to compete with tough teams.
According to Pro Football Focus, Mack is the best run defender among rushing outside linebackers. He forces inefficient or negative runs 10-percent of the time, and can be a real handful for some of the best left tackles.
Staley will be the best tackle Mack has faced this season. It’s an intriguing matchup that he has to win, against the run and pass, for the Raiders to stay competitive.