Oakland Raiders @ Broncos Preview: 3 Key Questions

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Can Oakland contain Emmanuel Sanders?

November 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In the first matchup, Emmanuel had a field day against Oakland’s secondary, tallying 9 catches for 111 yards.

It wasn’t any one particular player that Sanders went off against either. Per PFF, Sanders had 2 receptions for 48 yards against D.J. Hayden, 4 receptions for 38 yards against David Amerson, 2 catches for 20 yards against T.J. Carrie and 1 catch for 5 yards against Neiko Thorpe.

Emmanuel’s counterpart DeMaryius Thomas is easily a top ten WR in the NFL and is always dangerous, but Sanders’ style really seemed to give the Raiders a fit in the first game, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around.

It’s also possible that with Thomas being the bigger threat that the Raiders focused so much on him, it allowed Sanders to have a big game.

Looking forward to Sunday, how will the Raiders handle the defensive assignments?

Hayden has fallen out of favor lately, and rightly so. He’s had yet another rough season and it’s difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point. So that means that either Carrie or Amerson will largely be responsible for covering Sanders.

Based on size and athleticism, I think Carrie matches up better. That would also leave the 6’3″ Amerson to guard DeMaryius, who is the same height.

It’s not as black and white as that with defensive matchups however, and the offense will certainly do their best to put each player in advantageous positions throughout the game.

Regardless, the secondary is going to need to step up if the Raiders hope to walk away with a win.

Next: How will Derek Carr bounce back?