Oakland Raiders

Quietly, Raiders’ duo of Cooper/Crabtree becoming one of NFL’s best

20 September 2015: Michael Crabtree celebrates his first touchdown as a Raider with Amari Cooper during action in an NFL game against the Baltimore Ravens at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA. The Raiders won 37-33. Photographer: Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire

Oakland Raiders fans have had a whole lot to celebrate through the first six weeks of the 2016 NFL season. Not only are the Raiders sitting atop the AFC West with a 4-2 record (with the Denver Broncos), but they’ve managed to put together one of the stronger offenses in the NFL, and specifically one of the best passing games in the league as well. The Raiders are currently No. 11 in the NFL in points per game, averaging 25.3, but are also averaging 263.8 yards per game through the air. While much of the credit for the Raiders’ success through the air goes to quarterback Derek Carr, the duo of wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree has been a force in their own right.

Don’t believe it? The numbers never lie. As reported by NFL Media’s Research Group, the Cooper/Crabtree duo has been one of, if not the best in the NFL this season.

In terms of the specifics, both Crabtree and Cooper have been dominant, but in different areas surprisingly. While both have impressed in terms of catches (Cooper has 36, Crabtree 31), and each is receiving plenty of targets (Cooper 60, Crabtree 48), we’ve seen Cooper lead the way in receiving yards. The second-year receiver for the Raiders has totaled 585 yards through six games but has scored just one touchdown. On the flip side, Crabtree has totaled only 365 yards but has an impressive five touchdowns.

No matter how you look at it, the duo of Cooper and Crabtree is quickly becoming one of the most dominant in the NFL. Both players are capable of getting in the end zone, and either (or both) can hit the 100-yard mark on any given week against pretty much any opponent. Most importantly, Carr has the option to play to wherever the mismatch is because his two wide receivers are going to cause headaches for opponents.

Specifically speaking on that subject, you can look back at the Raiders’ Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Raiders wound up losing that game, Crabtree wound up getting a whole lot of cornerback Marcus Peters on this day, so was only targeted four times. In turn, it was Cooper who dominated, catching 10 passes for 129 yards.

The match between Cooper and Crabtree is a fun one to watch, and while Cooper has topped the 100-yard mark three times this season and Crabtree has only done so once, the latter has also found the end zone in three separate games this season.

Raiders fans should not only be excited about their dynamic duo at wide receiver, but also about the offense in general, and the fact that their upside and potential is only going to continue to grow. This group has the look of a playoff team, and if you get the three-headed monster of Carr, Cooper and Crabtree in the playoffs, it’s hard to envision that any team would have a whole lot of interest in matching up against that offensive unit. Plus, if the Cooper and Crabtree can keep this trend going, they may easily surpass the 2,500-yard mark or more when all is said and done.

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