1. Don't let Jerry Porter and Randy Moss loose deep. I think you will see a lot of nickle out of the Broncos this game. Both Porter and a healthy #18 are threats downfield. I see the Broncos countering that by blitzing off the edges occasionally and making sure the corners have safety help deep. Like the Eagles I don't think the Raiders can win this game without a couple of big plays, limit those and we win.
2. I spy LaMont Jordan. I think Jordan is underrated as a pass catcher. One way to slow and aggressive defense like our Broncos is to screen and throw to the back off play action. I think it is key to keep someone "spying" on Jordan to limit his production.
3. Back side pursuit. Jordan is a "float and cut kind of back" he runs with patience laterally along the line and then makes his cut when a hole opens. This makes him somewhat susceptible to backside pursuit and penetration.
4. Let the linebackers RUN!! We need to see good push by the front four this week. It's important that they occupy blockers and don't allow pulling guards or the center to get into Al Wilson and the other LB's when the Raiders run. I also think you will see a LOT of deep drops by the linebackers in pass coverage. This strategy was used by the Cheifs last week against the Raiders. It effectively makes Moss and Porter alter their routes and creates confusion for quarterback Kerry Collins. Don't be surprised to see a INT by a LB this week.
5. Run, Run...then Run some more. Pounding the ball, wearing down the Raider D and eating up clock. That's how the offense will win this game. I think you will see Tatum Bell again get loose on a couple runs in the second half after the Raider pursuit slows down.
6. Use the middle of the field. It seems to me that Jake Plummer is not throwing the ball as well to the outside as we would like. The last few weeks the Broncos have made a concerted effort to get the ball down the field, in particular using Jeb Putzier. I think you will see a few throws deep on a "seam" route to Putzier or Nate Jackson this week.
7. Last and final point. Play clean. Games like this that have a high emotional coefficient (he he big word) tend to create more opportunities for players to lose their proverbial cool. The Raider players will and do bait other teams into penalties. This team is dangerous enough without the Broncos giving them free yards from penalties. In particular watch for Robert Gallery - he is mean, nasty and gets a little dirty with his blocks.
All in all a winnable game, but not an easy one. The Raiders are dangerous on offense and stink enough on defense to take chances. Methodical, Grinding, Time eating play will win this game for the Broncos. Prediction : Broncos 28 Raiders 13
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