At first glance, the Denver Broncos are playing the Oakland Raiders at the perfect time. The Broncos are coming off of a humbling loss and the Raiders would appear to be the perfect cure for a team needing a bounce back win.
I’m not going to tell you that the Broncos are in danger of losing this game, but it might be tougher than most people think. The good news for the Broncos and their fans is that since Peyton Manning arrived in Denver, the Broncos have taken care of business in games like these.
Here are the three keys for the Broncos to get back in the win column.
Pressure the young quarterback: Believe it or not, the Raiders have a pretty good passing game led by their young quarterback Derek Carr. He is the real deal and might be the best young quarterback from last spring’s draft. The Raiders do not have any big name receivers but they have a few who can make plays, and the Broncos will be challenged.
Having said that, Carr is still a rookie quarterback and can be rattled by pressure. The Broncos lost last week for a lot of reasons but one of them was the fact they could not get consistent pressure on Tom Brady, and Brady took advantage. Carr is not Brady but if the Broncos give him time, he will make plays.
Before last week, the Broncos were one of the best defenses in terms of getting to the quarterback and they must get back to that this week. If the can get pressure on Carr, especially if the Broncos can play with the lead, then the turnovers should come. This is a game that Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware need to take over.
Get a lead: The Raiders are 0-8 and the best thing the Broncos can do is jump out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. The Raiders are playing better and they are saying the right things, but their confidence is fragile at best. If the Broncos jump out to a 14-0 lead, then a “here we go again attitude” is going to sink in on the Raiders sideline.
When the Broncos played the Jets, they did a good job of getting out to a 24-7 lead but then let the Jets back into the game. It will be vital for the Broncos to jump on the Raiders early and keep them down. The last thing the Broncos need or want is a game that is still up for grabs in the fourth quarter.
Be the Broncos: It seems like we talk about this every couple of weeks but the Broncos just need to play their game. They looked tentative in the early minutes versus the Patriots and they could never recover and get into their game.
The Broncos need to come out with their foot on the gas and let Manning carve up a defense that is not very good. Throw the ball early and then let Ronnie Hillman run versus four man fronts. The only chance the Raiders have is if the Broncos let them hang around, and help them with mistakes.
This game is all about the Broncos. They need to get back on track after last week and that means getting back to who they are. The Raiders will put up some resistance but if the Broncos play well, then this is no contest.
Prediction: Broncos-35 Raiders-14