After a dramatic last-second win against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders head home to host another division rival in the Denver Broncos. Raiders vs Broncos is always a heated affair but how can the Silver and Black come out on top?
After improving to 5-3 on a nail-biting victory against the Los Angeles Chargers las week, the Las Vegas Raiders return to Allegiant Stadium where they will look to extend their winning streak to three games. In their path stands the Denver Broncos, a team that is 3-5 but has had many close games this year. Raiders vs Broncos is always a bitter rivalry where often the team’s overall records don’t matter.
The Raiders will need a win to solidify their status as playoff contenders and to do that they will have to execute in these three key areas:
Run Early, Run Often, Run Successfully
While the Raiders offensive line has had to rely on their depth to fill holes, it hasn’t seemed to affect the team’s run game at all as they continue to physically punish teams. Josh Jacobs has done his thing but one of the pleasant surprises of the season so far has been the performance of backup running back Devontae Booker.
Booker is averaging almost seven yards-per-carry in a relief role and has given opposing defenses no time to rest when Jacobs needs a breather. The Broncos defence has allowed 119.5 rushing yards per game so far and this year and almost 135 rushing yards in their last three games.
Establishing the ground game will help the Raiders control the tempo of the game and hopefully let the play-action open up.
Pressure and Bring Down the Quarterback
The Raiders anemic pass rush has been one of the team’s largest issues through this year but this game offers the unit a chance to get back on track. The defense showed signs of life last week against the Chargers as they had two sacks and seven QB hits.
The Broncos have struggled to protect their quarterback this season as they have allowed 2.6 sacks per game. This is the chance for the Raiders pass-rushers to have a breakout game and get to Drew Lock multiple times.
Stop the Denver Run
While the Broncos offense has struggled to points on the board, one area of the game where they have found some success in controlling the ground game. They have a two-pronged attack with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay and if the Raiders let those two gash them for big gains it could be a long night.
Linebacker Cory Littleton was placed on the COVID-19 list and will miss the game. The team will need others to step up in his absence and help stifle the run. Nick Kwiatkoski looks to be the thumper Sunday in Las Vegas against the Broncos and perhaps we’ll see Raekwon McMillan get more snaps.
Executing in these three phases of the game will give the Raiders a great chance to pickup the victory on Sunday and move themselves to 6-3.