Editor’s note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Chiefs-Raiders matchups to watch Thursday, 5:25 p.m., at O.co Coliseum.
Chiefs LOLB Justin Houston vs. Raiders RT Menelik Watson
Tale of the tape:
Houston (50): 6-foot-3, 258 pounds, fourth season, Georgia
Watson (71): 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, second season, Florida State
Justin Houston is the best pass rusher you’ve probably never heard of. The Chiefs outside linebacker is excellent at his craft, with 12 sacks, six quarterback hits and 32 hurries.
Houston has 50 total pressures on 375 passing snaps. He’s creating pressure 14.9-percent of the time, the highest total among 3-4 outside linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus.
In other words, Houston’s pretty darn good.
That leaves Watson with a tough task. He’s certainly athletic enough to corral Houston one-on-one, though he’ll gladly take some help. He’ll certainly get some on occasion, though Tamba Hali and Dontari Poe deserve extra attention on a defense loaded with talent.
The hardest part might be finding out where Houston is on a particular play. He and Hali move around quite a bit.
“You’ve got to know where they are all the time,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “They move these players quite a bit. You’ll find them both on the same side. You’ll find them over the right or over the left side playing on the same side at times. … You’ve got to figure out a way to handle that plus any of their other exotic pressures that are coming from the other side.”