Las Vegas Raiders: 3 Keys to victory against Denver Broncos in Week 6
Shutting down the passing attack of the Broncos
Without question the defense has heavily improved ever since hiring Gus Bradley in the off-season. The passing defense especially. Finally, a year (at least so far) that you don’t count on the opposing offense converting on 3rd down regardless of how many yards they have to go.
The Raiders defense currently ranks 10th in total yards allowed per game, and 4th in passing yards allowed, a huge step up from, well, maybe over a decade. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley obviously has a lot to do with this, but so do some of the free-agent signings made before the season (which he likely had a say in).
You could argue Casey Hayward was the best free-agent signing the team made this past off-season. The veteran cornerback currently holds an 86.3 grade from ProFootballFocus and was named one of their first quarter all-pros on the defensive side of the ball.
Trayvon Mullen has been okay, rookie free-safety Trevon Moehrig hasn’t caught my attention much (which is usually a good thing), and Johnathan Abram has improved, but it isn’t just the secondary to credit for the major improvement against the pass displayed by this years squad. No matter how good your secondary is, they cannot cover wide-receivers forever and need a solid pass rush forcing quarterbacks to make quick decisions.
The pass-rush thus far has done so.
Maxx Crosby has been a terror for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks, with two sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and constant pressures. He currently ranks as the #1 EDGE defender per ProFootballFocus, with a grade of 91.0.
It’s clear the signing of Yannick Ngakoue has helped Crosby immensely, causing pressure from the other side. While his numbers aren’t eye-popping, you constantly see him get pressures and force the quarterback to step up into the pocket. This has allowed the interior defensive line to get in on the action as well, with Darius Philon and Solomon Thomas recording 2.0 and 2.5 sacks respectively, which is as much/more than Crosby and Yannick.
The Las Vegas Raiders may have missed their opportunity to do damage in the AFC West. Is this franchise actually regressing?
Teddy Bridgewater is playing pretty well so far this year, at least from a raw numbers standpoint, but the Broncos offense ranks just 24th in points. If the defense is for real they should be able to hold the Jeudy-less Broncos to around 20 points, which is their average.