Oakland Raiders: Keys to the Game Against Denver

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Oct 26, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (16) is tackled by Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns beat the Raiders 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Defense, Defense, Defense

Lastly for the Raiders, the defense needs to play as well as it did in Seattle against Russell Wilson if they are going to remain competitive against the Broncos. In Seattle, the banged up Raiders secondary did phenomenal in containing Russell Wilson, holding the Seahawks to field goals and getting off of the field plenty of times thanks to the elevated play of young cornerbacks TJ Carrie as well as DJ Hayden.

Even maligned middle linebacker Miles Burris had one of the best games of his career last week, the Raiders only getting carved up when Marshawn Lynch decided it was time for a big run. A factor that was always going to be a problem as there are few teams in the league who can bring down Beast Mode, especially using a second string middle linebacker and missing a starting outside linebacker/defensive end in LaMarr Woodley.

Denver will provide the Raiders their most difficult challenge as a defense this season, but already finding a way to frustrate Tom Brady as well as Wilson this season, there is hope that the defense can keep the home team in the game if they can use those experiences to frustrated Peyton Manning. Stopping Manning is a much different challenge than those two, and the Broncos offense has far more dangerous weapons to account for which makes it unlikely that the Raiders can improve upon those performances against Denver, but at the very least they could be able to keep the team in the game long enough to potential steal it at home.

There is a long list of challenges for the Raiders on Sunday, but on any given Sunday a team can play a perfect game and get the bounces needed for an upset. Facing a Broncos team that may be better in all 53 spots on the roster the Raiders will need to elevate their play to a level they have been unable to reach so far this season as the last winless franchise in the league. It is unlikely that this week will be the week the Raiders win, but if they want to make things interesting, they need to be near perfect to do so against a Broncos team that will be focused and ready to get back to winning after their letdown in New England.