In the final game of the 2013 regular season, the Oakland Raiders will be faced with a rough matchup against the Denver Broncos. The Raiders will have chance to potentially knock their AFC West rivals out of the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a victory, but other than that they are basically playing for pride and bragging rights. The Raiders cannot be catching the Broncos at a worse time, as the Raiders defense is in a downward spiral and the Broncos still have a lot riding on the outcome of this game. What will it take for the Raiders to take their hated rival?
It is going to take a near perfect game on one side of the ball with a lot of help from the other for the Raiders to pull off the major upset. Peyton Manning is playing lights out right now and he is coming off a four-touchdown performance that gave him the single-season record for passing touchdowns with 51.
The Raiders defense has looked awful over the last several weeks, as they have surrendered 26 or more points in four straight weeks. They have been gashed through the air and on the ground and their pass rush has dried up. The Raiders’ defense has just eight sacks over their last five games and the lack of pressure has played a major reason in the lack of defensive success.
This is a major problem for the Raiders. The key to beating Manning is getting pressure and forcing him to deal with a cluttered pocket. Chaos in the backfield can force Manning to mistime and force throws into coverage, which leads him to throw incompletions and turnovers. If the Raiders let Manning sit back in a clean pocket, he will pick apart their secondary.
The Raiders will not get he benefit of the Broncos possibly looking past the Raiders and not taking them seriously. The Broncos still have a lot to play for in regards to playoff seeding. If they win on Sunday, they will clinch a first round bye and home field throughout the playoffs. If they lose, they will need a loss from New England to keep that lock on the number one seed. The Broncos will come in focused and hungry, while they also will not be resting any of their starters.
The one shot the Raiders do have against the Broncos will take an amazing outing from their offense. The Broncos defense has been a disappointment this season after finishing near the top of the league, they rank near the bottom third of the league this season. The defense has struggled with several key injuries and the loss of Elvis Dumervil in free agency and they have not been been able to match the production from last season. They also just got news that impact linebacker Von Miller will be done for the season with a torn ACL.
The Raiders will need to win this game on the offensive side of the ball. They will need Matt McGloin to go after and attack this secondary. Keeping pace with the Broncos offense is going to be the Raiders only option for winning this game. Denver gives up roughly 260 yards per game through the air and they give up nearly 26 points per game. They are susceptible to the passing attack and a big game from McGloin could spark an upset.
The offense will some help from the defense in the form of a couple key stops and turnovers to give their offense an extra possession or two. The special teams will need to come up big in the field position battle, as well. The Raiders will have to be near perfect to beat the Broncos and there is not a lot of evidence that suggests that they have that in them.