Game Plan and Matchups vs. Raiders

Check out the game plan and matchups as the Denver Broncos face the Oakland Raiders.

SERIES HISTORY: 98th regular-season meeting. Raiders lead series 55-40-2, and the teams split the series each of the last two seasons. The Broncos swept the series in 2005 and 2006, but have had some problems with Oakland each of the last two years. Last season, a shocking 31-10 loss at home to the Raiders was one reason Denver couldn't hang on to its lead in the AFC West.

GAME PLAN: The Broncos have to get the Raiders into passing situations. That means being physical and making plays against Oakland's running game on first and second down. If JaMarcus Russell has to throw often, the Raiders will be well out of their comfort zone. However, the Broncos have to be wary of not giving up the long ball when Russell does throw.

Denver got its running game going late in Week 2 against Cleveland, and if the Broncos can run the ball effectively their offense will be potent. As long as Denver can mix the run and pass well, that's how it will attack the Raiders' defense. The Broncos might try to get running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter to the outside more, rather than running into the teeth of a big defensive line.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos OLB Elvis Dumervil vs. Raiders RT Cornell Green. The Broncos move Dumervil to the left side of the defense in passing situations, which usually allows him to go up against bigger and less mobile right tackles. That's what happened last week, and Dumervil took advantage of Browns right tackle John St. Clair. Green is a big veteran who will likely need help on passing downs against Dumervil.

Broncos WR Brandon Marshall vs. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Marshall is off to a slow start, and it won't get much better if he matches up most of the time with Asomugha, one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL. The Broncos trust all their receivers and won't force the ball to anyone, so whoever is covered by Asomugha could have a poor day.

INJURY IMPACT: WR Brandon Stokley was held out of practice Wednesday with a thigh injury, but there has been no indication that he is in any danger of missing Sunday's game. WR Brandon Marshall dropped out of practice early Wednesday because of an illness. He will be fine to play on Sunday. LB Spencer Larsen is out again this week because of a shoulder injury. DE Le Kevin Smith was limited at practice. He seems to be getting closer to playing for the first time this season. He has been out with a knee injury.



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