Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Preview: Key Matchups

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Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Owen Daniels (81) spikes his touchdown catch in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Vikings 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders’ Defense vs. Owen Daniels

Though it’s beginning to seem like a broken record, the Raiders’ defense must find a way to stop opposing tight ends from taking over games. Through four weeks Oakland has allowed a combined total of 31 receptions for 380 yards and six touchdowns to opposing team’s No. 1 tight ends.

With the injury to free agent safety Nate Allen, Oakland hasn’t quite been able to find the answer at the strong safety position, as both Taylor Mays and Larry Asante have noticeably struggled in man coverage against tight ends.

Inside linebacker Curtis Lofton has also been awarded much of the blame due to his apparent inability to maintain any type of solid coverage in the passing game, as all 16 of the targets thrown his way have resulted in receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns, via Josh Debow.

While Denver hasn’t looked tight Owen Daniels’ way too often, he has still managed to bring in 12 receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns. He will likely have more targets against such a favorable matchup, but most of his damage will come from within the red zone if Oakland can’t manage to keep him covered.

The probable return of defensive back Keith McGill could serve as a solution, as his above-average size and length allows him to matchup well against 6’3″, 247 pound Daniels, but his ability in coverage remains unproven.

Head coach Jack Del Rio and company have to adjust their defense in a way that limits Daniels on third-down and in the red zone, for if Daniels can consistently extend drives or finish them in the end zone this game will get out of hand quickly.

Next: Key Matchups: Raiders Secondary Vs. Broncos WR's