Editor’s note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Dolphins-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at Wembley Stadium.
Dolphins OL, featuring LT Branden Albert vs. Raiders SLB Khalil Mack
Tale of the tape:
Albert (71): 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, seventh season, Virginia
Mack (52): 6-foot-3, 252 pounds, rookie season, Buffalo
Khalil Mack had seven tackles and one signature hit on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady last game, but the Raiders linebacker refused to consider it a breakthrough performance.
Why? He didn’t have a sack. The Raiders didn’t win.
If he plays well and checks both boxes, Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins at London’s Wembley Stadium could be that big moment. Mack plays better each week, and has shown the speed, power and agility to wreak havoc on an opponent.
The Dolphins would prefer he didn’t. The offensive line will have to do better than the Patriots, who struggled to slow Mack down. Left tackle Nate Solder had a tough time with Mack, and Branden Albert will try and do better.
Albert has had an excellent start to the year, with three solid outings after signing a big-money contract this offseason. Those one-on-one matchups will be key, and could have a major impact in the game. Mack will move around some and play on both sides of the line to add unpredictability to the Raiders pass rush. If he can handle Albert, that will be a strong indicator that the No. 5 overall pick could live up to his draft-day hype.
“Last week, Mack shedded blocks consistently. He was excellent in that regard,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “You can say that he doesn’t have a sack, but he’s all over the place right now. Running to his side is pretty tough these days. He’s doing a good job in the pass rush as well. He’s progressing well.”