Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos: Keys to the Game

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Oct 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

4. Continue to Protect Carr

While the Raiders will need to establish a run game in order to control the clock and sustain drives, the Raiders are still going to need their franchise passer to throw the ball successfully in order to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The run game can help establish the pass by forcing defenders into the box and slowing down the pass rush, but Bill Musgrave and Mike Tice’s offensive line unit will have to find multiple ways to keep Carr upright and allow him to get the ball out of his hands against a massively talented Broncos front anchored by Demarcus Ware and Von Miller.

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  • The Raiders o-line has been solid in pass protection all year, allowing only three sacks of Derek Carr, two of which came last week against Chicago. Musgrave has helped matters by using a lot of quick release plays, and of course Carr is one of the best young passers in the league when it comes to getting the ball out quickly and avoiding sacks. But while the Bengals, Ravens and Bears all have talented fronts, none of those teams has been as talented at the Broncos, and this week will be the toughest pass rushing test for the team yet.

    Look for the Raiders to use Lee Smith heavily in pass protection to help Austin Howard on the right side, where they will see a lot of Von Miller, while Donald Penn works against Demarcus Ware on Carr’s blind side with some slight help from the backs. Bill Musgrave will look to run the ball and use the screen pass as much as possible early, but in situations where the Raiders try to push the ball deep, look for max protect looks with seven men blocking and only three running patterns.

    Next: Keys to the Game: Get Tricky Early