The Raiders are coming, the Raiders are coming, the Raiders are coming…! I hope this is the nightmare that plagued Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as he had nightmares about his blind side last night. Make no mistake, Lamarr Houston and Jason Hunter will be gunning for the 37-year-old who has a replacement left tackle. I’m sure that Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver will dial-up some blitz packages to make Manning miss his targets, get flustered, and possibly get the first of many turnovers this season. Yes Raider Nation, even the great Manning can get flustered and throw a few picks here and there.
This 17th meeting between the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos is shaping up to be a very interesting game. There is more on the line for the Raiders than the Broncos. Let’s face it, nobody thinks that the Raiders will contend in the AFC West this year. Apparently this is the year of the Denver Broncos or Kansas City Chiefs? Still, both teams have to come through Oakland to get to their pedestals, and the Oakland Raiders can hurt them big time. Beat the Broncos tonight, and the sky is the limit for the Raiders. Lose tonight, and the pundits will all say that things are as they should be.
What’s on tap for Monday Night Football? A lot of Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden. Where will the Broncos focus their defense? If they focus on stopping the run, Pryor will simply use his legs to get his receivers open and move the ball down the field. If the Broncos focus on stopping Pryor, McFadden will be “running with the night,” per se. That’s not even scratching the surface of the Raiders offense.
Wide-outs Rod Streater, Denarius Moore, Brice Butler, Jacoby Ford, etc…, will be finding the open spot to allow Pryor to reach them. Go for single coverage, man-on-man, and these quick receivers will burn the Broncos for a big gain. Let’s not forget the improved tight ends. Oh, and there is still Terrelle Pryor the pocket-passing quarterback or running back or read-option quarterback, etc… Don’t worry Raider Nation, I’m not forgetting Marcel Reece, and the Broncos won’t be able to account for every weapon on the offense for the Raiders.
In order for the Raiders to have success offensively tonight, the team will need to get off to an early lead. No cruise control tonight, Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson is going to have to pull out all of the stops. He will need to use the weapons he has, and he cannot play conservatively. Hit them hard, keep hitting them, and don’t let up until it’s over.
Defensively, the Raiders must attack Peyton Manning every chance they get. Get Manning on the ground as many times as possible. Make him think about his blind side, keep changing up the look of the defense, and don’t settle into any type of prevent mode. Stuff the middle of the offensive line and make the running backs bounce outside. This will allow the quick LB’s and DB’s of the Raiders to run with the RB’s and keep them from getting big yardage.
Contain the receivers. Keep Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker in front of the defense. Never allow these receivers to get behind the defense, or there will be hell to pay. Give them the short yardage plays, but jump some of the routes that are all too familiar in the Manning passing game. This will get the ball back into the hands of Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden where the Raiders need it.
Jacoby Ford and Philip Adams will need to get down the field and give the offense impressive field position on kickoff’s and punt returns. This will be a big key to winning this football game, field position.
The Raiders must remember to play their game and remain within themselves. Don’t let the hype of this game get out of control, and don’t allow Manning to have any type of opening. If the Raiders can remain calm and keep within themselves, Manning is in for a very painful and sore Tuesday morning.
The Oakland Raiders can win this game. It’s not out of reach, and the Broncos haven’t faced very tough defenses yet. I think this will be a very hard-fought game that will be won by one kicker, and only one kicker, Sebastian Janikowski. Remember, the air is thinner in higher elevations, and the ball will travel farther. Seabass can easily hit from anywhere in the 40’s and 50’s, and he’s even hit from the 60’s in Denver before.
I have two game predictions for you Raider Nation. First, if the Broncos are able to stuff the run and contain Pryor, for the most part, then the game will be won by the Raiders 27-24 off the leg of Janikowski. However, if McFadden rushes for over 100 yards, Pryor rushes for 50+ yards, and Pryor passes for 200+ yards, the Raiders will defeat the Broncos by a larger margin, 34-21. Either way, I’m taking the Raiders for the win. It’s time to unhitch the wagons and release the offensive weapons upon the Broncos defense. Go Raiders!