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Denver Broncos' Keys to Victory: Week 5 at Oakland Raiders

Ken Pomponio Avatar
October 10, 2015


Who: Denver Broncos (4-0) at Oakland Raiders (2-2)

What: Week 5

When: 2:25 p.m. MDT, Sunday, Oct. 11

Where: O.co Coliseum; Oakland, Calif.


Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Radio: KOA (850 AM), The Fox (103.5 FM)

Odds: Broncos -4.5; O/U 43.5

Notable: The Silver & Black hold a 59-48-2 all-time lead, but the Orange & Blue have won seven straight and 29 of the last 40 meetings, dating back to the 1995 season. … The Broncos are looking to extend their NFL-record road divisional win streak to 14 games. Denver’s last AFC West road setback came on Dec. 19, 2010 in a 39-23 loss to the Raiders. … After losing his first two starts against Oakland in 2000 and ’01, Peyton Manning has nine straight wins against the Raiders. Since joining the Broncos in 2012, Manning is 6-0 versus Oakland with 16 touchdown passes and three interceptions. … Raiders’ second-year QB Derek Carr completed 48-of-83 passes for 350 yards, three TDs and three picks last season in two losses to the Broncos.

The Keys

  • Negate the familiarity factor: If any coach knows the ins and outs of the Broncos’ dominant defense, it’s got to be Jack Del Rio, their defensive coordinator the previous two seasons. JDR and the Broncos didn’t exactly part on amicable terms with Denver dumping basically the whole staff last January but not before Del Rio rankled John Elway and Co. by hobnobbing – or was it pre-interviewing? – with Raiders’ owner Mark Davis before the teams’ regular-season finale. The ensuing lackluster playoff game plan against the Colts sealed JDR’s fate in the Mile High City, and he followed the path of his Denver D-coordinator predecessor, Dennis Allen, out west. At the least, it should add some juice to a rivalry that’s become dormant due to the Broncos’ recent dominance.
  • Suspect secondary is primary target. The Silver & Black are decent against the run, allowing 93.3 yards per game and 3.8 per carry, but only the Giants (316.3) are allowing more passing yards per outing than the Raiders (310.5). That’s what happens when your best secondary player is 39-year-old safety Charles Woodson who leads active players with 62 career interceptions but is looking for his first against a certain 1998 NFL Draft classmate. The Raiders have been particularly susceptible against opposing tight ends, who have totaled 388 receiving yards and six TDs versus Oakland this season – both easily NFL highs. In other words, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Owen Daniels, who has a TD reception in each of his last two games, will make for prime fantasy starts Sunday.
  • Tame the young triplets. Carr, running back Latavius Murray and rookie receiver Amari Cooper are a combined 70 years old but they’ve figured in nine of the Raiders’ 11 TDs so far. Cooper, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound fourth overall pick is particularly dangerous, ranking 12th in the league – and first among rookies – with 339 receiving yards and two TDs on 24 catches. The Broncos are allowing a league-low 185.3 passing yards, but corners Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby will have to pick up their games after struggling somewhat to stay with Vikings’ receivers last week. Of course, the Orange & Blue pass rush can help out big time by adding to their league-leading sack total of 18.
  • Continue the O-line improvement. Rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo will miss a second straight game with a shoulder injury, meaning the Broncos will feature the starting offensive-line quintet, from left to right, of Ryan Harris, Evan Mathis, Matt Paradis, Louis Vasquez and Michael Schofield for the second consecutive week. Coach Gary Kubiak said Friday that newly acquired tackle Tyler Polumbus and rookie guard Max Garcia will also rotate in. Pass-rushers Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck and the should-be-suspended Aldon Smith have combined for five of the Raiders’ eight sacks and represent Oakland’s best shot at slowing down Manning and Co.


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