Coming off of a surprising, yet quite impressive win over Pittsburgh, the Oakland Raiders look to make it two in a row as they travel to Denver to take on the Broncos. A win over the Broncos would push the Raiders to 2-2 heading into their bye week, and would be a great way of turning around a slow start to the season. Should they have a chance at doing so, there are several key areas in which they will have to perform well.
The Raiders have the talent on offense to make plays against this Denver defense, and especially so if the running game can keep improving and coming together. With Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen having led the Broncos defense just one year ago, he should be able to give the offense an even better idea of just how and where to attack. With the Raiders’ current struggles defending the pass, and now going up against a future Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning, this game could turn into a shootout very early on. An informed and concise game plan, with a possible edge in how to attack the Broncos defense, would put this already explosive offense in position to make all of the necessary plays to win.
Offensive Line Gelling
A key in the success of any winning team is the performance of their offensive line in both the running and passing game. Last week, we saw this unit of the Silver and Black start to come together, producing the best rushing yard totals of the year, while only allowing one sack against the well renowned Steelers defense. While this week’s matchup against Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, and the Broncos defense does not get any easier, steady improvement is imperative. If the line can continue to gel as a unit, and what we saw against Pittsburgh was no fluke, the offense will continue to get more efficient in all areas. If the zone blocking scheme can flourish for the Raiders this week, not only will they have a great chance at picking up a win, but everyone will soon forget their questions of its fit for this team.
Take the Ball Away
In last week’s game against Pittsburgh, and in the first two for that matter, we saw opposing quarterbacks move the ball at will. While that is not way the team nor the fans want to see the games go, it may continue to be that way until the secondary can get completely healthy. The difference in the game against Pittsburgh, resulting in a win, was that the Raiders were able to force key turnovers, and capitalize on the opportunities. Doing so can go a long way in any game, and will be the number one factor for the potential of a Raiders victory this week. Going up against a Peyton Manning led offense will make this an even tougher task, but will no doubt be a focus heading into Sunday.
After Sunday’s game we will likely know whether this Raiders team going forward will embody that of the first two weeks, or rather that of the impressive win over Pittsburgh in week 3. In a game and league where momentum is everything, heading into the bye week 2-2 on a two game winning streak would look a whole lot better than 1-3. Should the Raiders have success in these three areas, getting a very important win in Denver would be all the more likely.
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