The Oakland Raiders travel to Denver to take on the Broncos their most hated rivals. This game can determine a lot in the AFC West, where the division is still up for grabs. Both teams sit at 2-4, and desperately need this win to gain ground on the Kansas City Chiefs who sit at 3-2. Here’s what the Raiders must do if they want to be that team.
The Raiders must get back to the basics on offense. Last week’s dismal performance made you question if the previous three game average of 27 plus points per game was a mirage. Games are tough and unpredictable from week to week so I expect see a more consistent offense against Denver. Running back Darren McFadden, right on cue, returns to this Raiders offense giving them the foundation to establish their running game once again. His speed and quickness was missed last week, as the offense struggled to get their running and passing game going. Look for him to be the identity of this offense, once again. Raiders’ quarterback Jason Campbell should get the nod depending on the improvement of his left knee injury, if he’s not able to go, 3rd stringer Kyle Boller will step in, because back-up quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is still not a 100 percent. Whoever the signal caller is, he must be consistent and complete passes to create balance for this offense against the Broncos.
Oakland’s defense has shown strides, but the run defense has always been prone to let running backs bust a big run or two through out the course of the game. Last week’s game, was not totally their fault, because had the offense held their weight the Raiders defense could have had fresher legs in the second half, or giving up 17 points while scoring 23 pints would have resulted in a win for the Silver and Black. This “One Gap” defense that Oakland runs, have to 9 times out of 10 have all gaps plugged up. Letting off runs of 40 plus yards can be disheartening to any defense. They take on Denver running back Knoshown Moreno, he is quick, feisty and is capable of having a big game. The objective this Sunday, like every Sunday will be to contain the run. Raider Nation should pray for this to take place at least for over 3 quarter in Sunday’s game.
Intensity is the name of the game when it comes to inter division matchups. The hate, the adrenaline normally makes for a great game that comes down to the wire. The Raiders need to look no further than two weeks ago when they got it done against a San Diego Chargers team that had beaten them 13 straight times. Denver has had the edge recently in this AFC West showdown, and will try to dominate this season series once again. The Raiders must find the “Inner Resolve” like they did two weeks ago against the Chargers. Find the fire and step it up!
This Raiders team should easily be 4-2, but have come up short finishing ball games. The task this Sunday in Denver will be to play a full 60 minutes, and leave it all out on the field. Can and will the Raiders take advantage of a golden opportunity? Have the Raiders truly learned how to win ball games under Coach Tom Cable? The division and season is on the line and its time to “Go Hard or Go Home”! This should be interesting.
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Written by Arthur Kai