BroncosRants: 5 Keys to Broncos vs Raiders NFL Week 4
Broncos vs Raiders
The Denver Broncos welcome their most heated rivalry into Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday. The Oakland Raiders come to town looking to extend their four game winning streak in Denver, but this is not the same old Broncos they have seen the past few years. Say what you will about the Broncos 1-2 record to start the 2012 NFL season, but their level of opponents is second to none.
Their schedule remains difficult in the next three weeks and will be looking forward to their early bye week as they recoup from what everyone in Denver hopes to be no worse than 3-3 after 6 games. But for this week, it is all about the Raiders and their 31st ranked run defense and stopping Darren McFadden who seems to be breaking out more with each week that passes.
Here are five areas that the Broncos need to control in order to come out with a win on Sunday. A loss is bad enough, but a loss to the hated Raiders would make a 1-3 start even more sour for the team and its fans. I look for the Broncos to control this game in almost every aspect being that the Raiders are the anti-Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans and I do not see Peyton Manning having to come from behind yet again.
Dumervil and Wolfe
The pass rush will be key to all of the Broncos riches on Sunday. Except for their first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Broncos duo of Elvis Dumervil and Derek Wolfe have been manhandled and not allowed to harass the QBs much. This needs to change quickly in order for the rest of the defense to not be left picking up the pieces. If Doom and Wolfe can keep Carson Palmer on the run, the Raider passing game will make plenty of mistakes.
The Raiders come into Sunday with only one team with a worse run defense than them: the New Orleans Saints. Willis McGahee and the offensive line need to exploit this pronounced weakness and produce the holes while constantly pushing downfield. If McGahee gets 100yds and a TD, the Broncos will get back on track with their second win.
Unfortunately the past two weeks, the Broncos have looked slow getting out of the gate while receivers have dropped passes and Peyton Manning has looked rusty. Manning needs to figure this out quick and turn those field goals into TDs in order to control this game. Again, if McGahee rushes with consistency, then Manning can enjoy more time in the pocket in order to make the right throws.
Champ and Porter
Which Tracy Porter will show up on Sunday? The hero or the goat? Champ Bailey has been solid so far and needs the help on the opposite side of the field. Porter got burned last week on two huge TD passes by Matt Schaub, and although the Raiders do not have the same personnel, these mistakes cannot keep happening. This was supposed to be the strength of the Broncos defense and through two weeks, the jury is still out.
With Nate Irving most likely out with a concussion and Joe Mays suspended for one game due to his massive hit on Schaub last week, the Broncos find their weakness even weaker. Von Miller was fined $15,000 for another hit on Schaub and all of a sudden, this linebacking unit is a real mess. Von Miller needs to take control and Keith Brooking just needs to be consistent with his defensive play calling while filling in for Mays. The Raiders TEs might have a field day if this unit can not pull it together.
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