Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos: Keys to the Game

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Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Taiwan Jones (22) at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

5. Get Tricky Early

Bill Musgrave is known for his ability to find unique ways to involve his most talented offensive players, even if those ways fall under the category of trick plays. In a huge home matchup against a division rival, Musgrave might want to open up the playbook, and do so early, for a couple of good reasons.

First off, when playing a team with an incredibly tough defense and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, you want to find unique ways to get on the board with points as soon as you can, to force Manning to have to play from behind and to allow your own offense to play with a lead. Vanilla play-calling is smart and steady and probably a good idea for most of the game, but early on, the Raiders might want to try to catch the Bronco defense with something they haven’t prepared for to build a quick lead.

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The hiring of Bill Musgrave as a "special assistant" continues odd hiring trend
The hiring of Bill Musgrave as a "special assistant" continues odd hiring trend /

Factory of Sadness

  • Denver Broncos: Bill Musgrave's tone on tight ends has changed Predominantly Orange
  • Denver Broncos: Change in offensive game plan yields success Predominantly Orange
  • Denver Broncos: Stick with Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman and the run Predominantly Orange
  • Denver Broncos: Offensive issues are deeper than Case Keenum Predominantly Orange
  • Phillip Lindsay getting a lot of work with Broncos' top offense Predominantly Orange
  • Also, in a home game against the Broncos you want to get the Raider crowd involved early. While the O.co Coliseum may not be as loud as Arrowhead or Century Link, the fervor of Raider fans can create an emotional momentum that the Raiders players can feed off of and that might subtly intimidate Broncos players. A trick play can get the crowd going in full throat very early, and a couple successful trick plays early could build a frenzy that allows the defense to turn it up a notch and force Manning into a mistake.

    When you’re playing your unbeaten division rival, you have to pull out all the stops. Make no mistake, this is a huge game for the Raiders, if they want to have any hope at respectability within the division or around the league for this season. If they go out and play conservative and make the same mistakes they’ve made through four games, it’s not going to get it done.