Countdown to Paydirt: vs. Denver Broncos

A week after taking on the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, the Raiders are set to play host to the Super Bowl losing Denver Broncos.

Still winless, the Raiders face the tough task of taking on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos who are probably upset after being dominated in a 43-21 loss in New England.

Manning will look to attack a Raiders secondary that has been better as of late, allowing 227.6 yards per game in the air (10th in the league). The secondary will surely have a tough task with Manning and the prolific Broncos passing attack that is throwing for over 313 yards a game, second in the league.

The Broncos use a balanced passing attack, with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders leading the team in receptions (57), but the athletic tight end Julius Thomas leading in touchdown receptions with an impressive 10.

Though the Broncos don’t use the running game as much as some teams, they do have a stable of talented runners in Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson. Ball is coming off of a groin injury, and it’s uncertain whether or not he will play on Sunday. Even if he does return, it may be Hillman getting the start anyways after impressing in place of the injured Ball. Hillman has 277 rushing yards over the last three games.

The Raiders have struggled mightily to get the running game going, and missing rookie left guard Gabe Jackson won’t help on Sunday either. The Raiders have ran for an atrocious 65.5 yards per game on the ground with Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. It won’t get easier against the Broncos, who is averaging just over 71 yards per game on the ground.

Since the Broncos score over 30 points per game, the Raiders may be in a position where they have to throw a lot to catch up. If that’s the case, the Broncos are giving up 254.0 passing yards per game (20th in the league).

The Raiders offensive line needs to do much better than they did last week against Seattle, as they face a tough battle against linebacker Von Miller and defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

Miller leads the Broncos with nine sacks, while Ware has eight of his own, landing both players in the top five of the NFL. The Raiders offensive line has done a great job of keeping rookie quarterback Derek Carr upright all year, only allowing nine sacks all year (tied for first in NFL with Denver).

The Raiders will head back on the road to take on the San Diego Chargers next week.

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