With the AFC west closely contested, the Oakland Raiders need to win against the Denver Broncos so the Kansas City Chiefs don’t create separation with them.
After last week’s debacle, the Oakland Raiders have put themselves in a difficult position. They have to travel to Mile High Stadium to take on the divisional rival Denver Broncos. Both teams lost last week and are going to want to win this game to keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are undefeated right now.
This game is a must-win for the Raiders for that exact reason. To drop this game will put the Raiders in a hole at 2-2. The AFC West is arguably the best division in the league. The Raiders can’t afford to fall behind or the Chiefs and Broncos will leave them in the dust.
Both the Raiders and Broncos under performed last week, but the Raiders were easily the most disappointing, especially the offense. The Broncos defense will be looking at the tape, licking their chops in hopes the Oakland offense doesn’t show up again. This defense is capable of replicating what the Redskins defense did.
Von Miller can easily explode for sacks on back-to-back plays. Right tackle Marshall Newhouse is going to have his hands full. Todd Downing is going to have to assist him with either a running back in pass protection or Lee Smith as an extra lineman.
On the defensive side, Khalil Mack is going to dominate former Raiders offensive lineman Menelik Watson. It won’t be surprising to see Mack have a multi-sack game. The secondary is going to need to stay in coverage long enough to give Mack and company the time to get to Trevor Siemian.
The main focal point of this game, however, is the receiving corps. They looked abysmal against the Redskins who don’t even have the same weapons in the secondary as the Broncos do. This secondary has caused problems for the Raiders receivers, specifically Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
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According to The NFL Network, since 2015 both receivers have only managed to bring down an estimate of four passes out of seven and only around 35 yards a game with Amari Cooper having the lone touchdown in games against the Broncos.
That shows how lock down this Broncos secondary is. They have Cooper and Crabtree’s number. This upcoming game is the time for one, if not both, of them to have a breakout game, especially after last week. This game ideally should be a breakout game for Crabtree.
On top of last week, the last time he went against the Broncos, cornerback Aqib Talib ripped off his chain and shut him down the whole game. Crabtree needs to answer to that with his play and rip off big gains against Talib.
Crabtree’s play also depends on Derek Carr. If Carr can get back to form from the first two weeks we will have ourselves an entertaining game. I have no doubt that Carr will bounce back from last week, but how good he looks is a toss up against that vaunted Denver defense. As long as the offensive line can give Carr a clean pocket like they are known for, Carr should be able to deliver.
Division games are typically a must-win and given the Raiders’ situation, makes it even more so. A loss will have them on a two game losing streak with the Los Angeles Chargers and Chiefs coming to town in within the next four games.