Last season, the Raiders went into Denver and got a win on the back of JaMarcus Russell. Charlie Frye started the game and Russell came in when Frye was injured to lead the Raiders to victory.
Michael Bush had 144 total yards and a touchdown. Darren McFadden had 74 yards rushing. Chaz Schilens made the game-winning catch. Brandon Marshall had seven receptions and a touchdown and Kyle Orton went 19/34 for 278 yards.
The Broncos couldn’t run the ball that day and haven’t been able to run the ball much this season. The worst rushing offense in the league happens to be doing very well passing. The addition of receiver Brandon Lloyd and subtraction of Brandon Marshall has the Broncos ranked third, behind San Diego and Indianapolis in the NFL.
The Raiders may not be able to run the ball on Denver like they did last season. The Broncos added nose tackle Jamal Williams to help with their woes stopping the run and have held five of six opposing rushers under 100 yards.
Maurice Jones-Drew was held to 98 yards, Joseph Addai to 29 yards, Chris Johnson to 53 yards, Justin Forsett to 44 and LaDainian Tomlinson to 55 yards. Only Ray Rice was able to break the 100-yard threshold with 133 yards in week five.
The Broncos still have a dangerous secondary and have only allowed one receiver to eclipse 100 yards. Austin Collie had a monster game against the Broncos, but the Raiders don’t have anything approaching Peyton Manning.
It could be a tough game for the Raiders offensively if they can’t get the run going. At this point, Kyle Boller looks like the starter for the Raiders. He played well during the preseason and has plenty of experience. He has the ability to make plays, but his problem had always been making good decisions with the football. If he can avoid the interception he is more than capable starter.
Matchup to Watch:
Samson Satele vs. Jamal Williams
If the Raiders get their running game going they will have a chance to win. It hinges on Satele, who must do a good job against Williams. Satele must keep Williams from eating up multiple blockers and make sure he has to work.
If Satele can contain Williams and Darren McFadden returns to action, the Raiders will be able to employ a two-headed rushing attack to chew up yards. Many coaches will preach wearing down and wearing out the big boys up front. Expect the backs to see plenty of action up the middle if Satele does his job.
In many ways the Broncos passing attack is overrated, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. The Ravens and Colts have decently rated pass defenses and beat the Broncos easily. The other four teams are all among the league’s worst against the pass. The Jaguars (28), Seahawks(30), Titans (23), and Jets (22).
Despite the Chargers outburst, the Raiders are ranked eighth against the pass. The Raiders poor rush defense might yield yards to Denver, but the matchup couldn’t be better for the Raiders. The Raiders rush defense seems to be close, having held rushers in check besides a couple long runs. It depends on if the Raiders can prevent those long rush plays.
Matchup to Watch:
Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Brandon Lloyd
Will the Raiders treat Lloyd like a top receiver or allow Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson to cover him? My bet is the Raiders will shadow Brandon Lloyd most of the time with Asomugha. Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson will draw matchups with the other receivers.
Broncos have a 27.1 yard kick return average and 10.1 yard punt return average, both rank top ten. On the other side, they have allowed 27.4 yards per kick return and one touchdown and average just 63 yards per kickoff, both rank bottom ten. Considering the altitude of their home stadium, this is extremely poor.
The Broncos have made 11 of 12 field goals including two from more than 50. The Raiders have made the most field goals, but also missed the most. Maybe we will see the 63-yard record broken on Sunday by Sebastian Janikowski. He can probably hit from 70 in Denver.
The Raiders dominate all the punting categories thanks to Shane Lechler and the coverage units. The Broncos have punted decently well, but haven’t done a good job containing the returns ranking near the bottom in punting net and near the top in gross.
Quentin Groves gets his job back at weak-side outside linebacker. Trevor Scott moves back to defensive end. Interesting to note that Scott will likely now be a nickel rusher, with Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy the first down ends.
Maybe the reason for Scott’s move to end wasn’t Groves rise or Shaughnessy’s regression, but actually Trevor Scott’s inability to solidify himself at a position.
Jared Veldheer may have won the starting left tackle position. Tom Cable still insists it is a rotation, but Veldheer got all the first-team snaps during practice this week.