Oakland Raiders Week 5 Primer: Donkey Stampede

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Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Testing Peyton

The Raiders have another opportunity to make a statement this weekend. Although very talented, the Broncos have two significant weaknesses on offense. The first is their very young and struggling offensive line. This group has struggled in all aspects of the game and is limited to certain zone blocking concepts in the run game. Overall, the offensive line limits the Bronco offense because they do not succeed in the run game. Recently the Broncos have found success with Hillman as the back, but that is generally in spite of the line play.

Peyton Manning is the second weakness the Broncos have on defense. Due to his age and neck concerns, Peyton struggles delivering a ball downfield. More importantly, Peyton is making decision he would never make in the past. It seems his lack of arm strength is in his head and it is shaking his confidence. The Raiders have to exploit both of these weaknesses if they can expect to stop the Broncos. In typical fashion when facing a Peyton led team, yards are not a concern. What the Raiders need most in this game are sacks and turnovers.

Defensively, the Raiders need to confuse the Broncos offensive line, It is time for the defensive line to have an exceptional game. More importantly, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr needs to call more stunts and twists to help them. The Raiders cannot afford togo long stretches without producing pressure.

The Broncos defense has been a big performer in the first quarter of the season. Led by Von Miller and Demarcus Ware they also feature TJ Ward and Aqib Talib. The most important aspect to plying the Broncos is getting them to show the blitz presnap. The best way to do that is go to a shotgun with three or more receivers. Combining that with either an uptempo offense or taking time presnap and waiting for the blitzers to show themselves, and the Raiders can get a good idea for what the defense is sending their way.

Wade Phillips loves to send five or six rushers and leave his defensive backs in one on one coverage. Although the Broncos have talented defensive backs, that gives the opportunity to beat them deep. One of the most important matchups for the Raiders will be Andre Holmes in the slot. His size and ability to stretch the defense vertically will be a huge issue for smaller slot cornerbacks. This will also be a very good game to get the tight ends involved. Rivera had two catches last week, but he could a be a valuable weapon running crossing routes against man defense.

It is clear, the Raiders have an opportunity to put down a marker for the season and show the NFL that there is a new force in the AFC. The Raiders will be without TJ Carrie, but Ken Norton can limit that loss by playing two man looks. In this look, the Raiders would have two deep safeties with man defense played underneath. Lastly, Ken Norton has to start putting either Ball or Ray Ray on a tight end in man coverage rather than Curtis Lofton who is a run stopper. In conjunction with this, it may also be advantageous to use a third safety in nickel and dime packages as well.

The question is simple: Can the Raiders slow down a donkey stampede or are they going to continue to get run over by them?

Prediction: 20-17 Broncos