“How the Oakland Raiders can beat the Denver Broncos This Sunday”
This Sunday the Raiders will again play with a potential playoff team in the Denver Broncos. Lets look at the truth about both teams and see what needs to be done for a Raiders win to happen.
DEFENSE: (#1 in sacks, #2 in points allowed)
The Broncos went back to what made them really good at defense; stop the run and rush the passer. Their front 7 does a great job at both.
Demarcus Ware and Von Miller get all of the publicity and credit, but they are much more than that. Their LB’s are active and aggressive and athletic.
What makes the Broncos defense so good is that they also are aggressive and mix up blitzes. In the final drive against the Vikings last week, the Broncos blitzed almost every play. They caused a fumble and won the game; the Raiders in contrast blitzed once in the Bears final drive; and it was more of a controlled blitz; and they lost. The Broncos front 4 can get pressure on the QB and the Raiders front 4 is still finding their way.
Safety T.J. Ward had 6 tackles and 2 sacks on blitzes against Minnesota and was voted defensive player of the week. Add good corner backs and this is a solid defense.
OFFENSE: (24th passing, 27th rushing)
On offense the Broncos glaringly are not the same. They are the 24th ranked passing offense in yards and the 27th rushing offense. Why are they struggling? Their offensive line is the worst its been in years.
Peyton Manning has gone months without a sack at times in his career, constantly playing for a great offensive line. This year it is different and he’s struggling. If you rush Manning, he will make mistakes which is seen by his losing record in the post season. If the Raiders front 4 can’t get a pass rush on Manning and they HAVE TO blitz more often, this may be a long day in Oakland.
The lack of quality OL play has also hurt their run game. CJ Anderson was thought to have a possible great year, only to be limited by injury and lack of success.
The Broncos offense has been bailed out often with great field position that the Denver defense gives them. Right now the Broncos offense is average at best, but their recent and past success against Oakland should keep the Raiders from thinking too much into that.
DEFENSE: (29th in total yards, 31st passing yards)
I just read a publication with a popular national Raiders writer who just said the Raiders had a good defensive backfield and are tough to pass against. He got 500 likes. I’m sorry but I’d like to think my readers are smarter than that and I was taught not to lie.
The Raiders pass defense is 31st in the NFL. The last 3 teams the Raiders have played have a combined record of 3-9. They aren’t exactly playing playoff teams and remember that Green Bay and Pittsburgh are still ahead for the Raiders.
T.J. Carrie has played mostly safety the last 2 games and he played fairly well. He’s hurting with an arm/chest injury and is a game time decision. The Raiders safeties are a walking wounded. Their corners have just been torched for most of the year. D.J. Hayden had another bad game but on the bright side, David Amerson played somewhat well even though he was beat bad on a long pass. Yes I’m reaching when I’m looking at a released player from Washington as being the bright spot.
Curtis Lofton, Dan Williams and Justin Tuck have helped the run defense. They have been better than in the past but have still had their mild struggles.
The Raiders LB’s all have a weakness and a strength. Lofton is great against the run but bad against the pass. Malcolm Smith is a good blitzer and good against the pass but terrible against the run. Ray Ray Armstrong in my mind is more of a back up than a starter. This is why letting Sio Moore go still puzzles me.
Kahlil Mack and Aldon Smith both played well last week. On the last drive though the Raiders rushed 4 players on the Bears and they only got mild pressure on Jay Cutler though and that is a concern. If you have to blitz to get a pass rush, then your pass rushers are not all that. They have to be more consistent. A blitz should be used to enhance your pass rush like Denver does; not create one because you can’t put pressure on the QB without it.
OFFENSE: (11th in passing, 4th in rushing yards/attempt)
The Raiders offense was not running on all cylinders last week but overall they’ve improved greatly over last year. They are ranked 11th in scoring and 11th in passing yards. They are now ranked 4th in rushing yards per attempt and the offensive line has played much better than expected.
The thing that was puzzling last week was that in the second half, the Raiders ran on almost every 1st down play; something they did often last year. They were conservative and predictable and it showed. If you are a good team you go after your opponent, you don’t play not to lose. The Raiders struggle running the ball when they are predictable. Raiders OC Bill Musgrave and head coach Jack Del Rio have long been considered conservative coaches.
Chicago kept Amari Cooper somewhat quiet after a touchdown pass but Michael Crabtree had another good game. He has been a great pickup and his toughness was shown when his leg was rolled up on, but he came back into the game. Roy Helu has also been a nice player and Marcel Reece; when they let him touch the ball; shines as always in the passing game. I would put him at RB at times but that’s another story.
How Can the Raiders Win:
Bill Belichick and the Patriots were the ones that showed teams how to beat Peyton Manning; rush the QB and have your corners and safeties up on the WR for the quick pass. The Raiders HAVE to get to Peyton Manning with their front four, and then use the blitz at times to really rush him. Manning will make mistakes. If you HAVE TO blitz to rush manning, it will be a long day.
With the rule changes, CB are more reluctant to play up on players but the Raiders have to do it. If they can control the Denver running game; which they haven’t for a long time; they can make the Broncos predictable and limit their passing game.
The Broncos defense is really playing well. They scored the winning TD in a big win at Kansas City, and they dominated the Lions and Ravens. They have been the main reason for their 4-0 start.
The Raiders are not going to run on this defense much. What they need to do is think of them as the Ravens. Play action pass on 1st down with quick 3 and 5 step drop passes, slants. They need to mix in passes to the TE and RB coming out of the backfield.
What the Raiders do on 1st down will be the key. If they just run off tackle on first down all the time on this defense, they will lose. They gave up too many downs in the Chicago game. Second and long against Chicago is one thing; second and long against Denver is much worse.
If they can be successful on first down then you mix in the run which then can make a difference. If Carr doesn’t have a big game, I don’t see the Raiders winning.
The Raiders have played 3 teams with a combined record of 3-9 and were 2-1. They played a 4-0 team in Cincinnati and were dominated. They say you don’t know how good you are until you play a good team on the road. The Raiders really don’t have a tough game on the road until later in the season at Pittsburgh. This is a big game for this early season. The Raiders do not match up well against Denver but with their struggling offense and with the right scheme against their defense, this is a winnable game at home in the comfortable confines of Oakland.