Editor’s note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Eagles-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., at Oakland Coliseum.
Eagles LT Jason Peters vs. Raiders DE Lamarr Houston
Tale of the tape:
Peters (71): 6-foot-4, 328 pounds, 10th season, Arkansas
Houston (99): 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, fourth season, Texas
[RELATED: Matchup No. 3: Logan vs. McFadden]
Lamarr Houston has bruised, battered and beaten offensive lineman charged with slowing him down. The Raiders defensive end has been efficient during a true breakout season, with four sacks, nine quarterback hits and 25 hurries in just seven games.
According to Pro Football Focus, Houston ranks seventh among 4-3 defensive ends in pass-rush efficiency, flushing the pocket on 11.5-percent of his pass rushes.
No offense to those he’s seen before, but Sunday provides his toughest test of the season. Hands down.
Philadelphia’s Jason Peters ranks among the best left tackles of the last decade. He’s a four-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler, a rare mix of big-man power and skill-player-esque agility.
While the 10th-year veteran missed last season after rupturing an Achilles’ tendon, he’s back and as good as ever.
“He’s still an outstanding player,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s another guy — they got him out of Arkansas — that was a tight end in college that moved to offensive line. Heck, in Buffalo he covered kickoffs, so this is a real athletic and powerful offensive lineman. I don’t see any decline at all in his play. I think he’s still an outstanding player.”
Numbers support Allen’s assessment. He’s allowed just one sack and one quarterback hit in eight games despite three signal callers with different styles. Running in his direction has proven fruitful as well, leaving Houston with a tall task ahead.
The fourth-year pro believes he’s ready for it.
“This game is about challenges and how you respond to them,” Houston said. “This is a big one, as big as it gets. You look forward to matchups these. A guy like Peters is one of the best in the NFL. You want to beat the best. Nothing will come easy, but that’s okay. I’m ready to go to work on Sunday.”
[RELATED: Injury report: Watson on verge of NFL debut]
Houston is playing at a high level against the run and pass, meaning this will be a great clash up front. Houston has power and surprising speed given his size. Peters is much older, but has mastered the tricks of his trade.
Peters has played with an injured shoulder and a dislocated finger that makes it harder to control opponents, which could give a healthy Houston a leg up.
Houston believes the Raiders scheme can do the same thing.
“Our defensive coordinator (Jason Tarver) does a great job putting us in position to succeed,” Houston said. “He helps create matchups and situations where you can win. That’s helped me this season, and I’m thankful for it I believe that if I execute the game plan well, we’re going to do well.”