Beating good teams like the Denver Broncos takes proper planning. What are some possible matchups the Oakland Raiders can seize on?
Khalil Mack and Sio Moore against Peyton Manning
Beating Peyton Manning at anything is always a challenge. There is a reason the 37-year old is a future Hall of Famer. However, he is not without his weaknesses. One thing that has cropped up over the years is how Manning can struggle at times to deal with defenses that can mix up their fronts. In this manner Peyton doesn’t know where the pressure is coming from. The Oakland Raiders seem to have picked up on this idea because they now have two linebackers on their defense in Sio Moore and Khalil Mack who can rush the passer. This will allow the Raiders to move them around, confusing Manning and with luck forcing him to hold the football long enough to make a mistake.
James Jones against Bradley Roby
The Denver Broncos signed cornerback Aqib Talib to cover the best receiver of every opponent they face. That means Rod Streater will likely draw the matchup. At the same time, Oakland has a chance to find the mismatch elsewhere. In free agency they added veteran receiver James Jones who had lots of success in Green Bay. Early projections hint the Broncos may end up starting rookie 1st round pick Bradley Roby on the other side of Talib. While Roby has athletic talent, so does Jones who also has experience playing against NFL-caliber corners. That is a matchup the Raiders should look to early and often for big plays.
Darren McFadden against Nate Irving
One free agent loss that many are overlooking regarding the Broncos is linebacker Wesley Woodyard. He was great to have on the field because he could tackle but also had the speed to play pass coverage. With him gone, Denver is left with fourth-year man Nate Irving to play in the middle. Stopping the run isn’t a problem for him, but tapes has shown he can be exploited through the air. For the Oakland Raiders, that will mean finding ways to attack him when he’s on the field. Darren McFadden, their much-maligned running back, could be key since he is a threat as a receiver out of the backfield.