Sep 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (45) tackles Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

How the Oakland Raiders Can Conquer Denver

To win the division, the Oakland Raiders know they have to knock off the king.  That means the Denver Broncos.  How can they do it?

Feed Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew

They say running the ball has no real place in the NFL anymore.  That is absolutely untrue.  For teams willing to commit to it, a steady rushing attack has loads of benefits.  For the Oakland Raiders when they play the Broncos, it will be about two factors.  First they will want to control twin pass rushers Von Miller and Demarcus Ware, not allowing them to pin their ears back and go full steam.  Second, it controls the clock and most importantly keeps that record-setting Broncos offense on the sideline.  Despite reservations about their age or injury history, Oakland cannot be afraid to feed the football to their new tandem of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew.

Score first

Dating back to 2011, the Raiders have lost five-straight games to the Broncos.  Looking at the box scores and play-by-play, an interesting trend surfaced.  In four of those five contests, Denver scored the first points.  One of the most difficult things in any sport is having to play from behind.  Head coach Dennis Allen can’t afford to play conservative against a high octane team like that.  To beat them means to put them down early and force them to mount a comeback.  Very often that can lead to hurried mistakes.

Hit Demaryius Thomas and the other receivers

Linebacker Bobby Wagner was frank in his analysis of the Broncos following the drubbing his Seattle Seahawks gave them in the Super Bowl.  He said from the very beginning Denver looked scared on offense.  They weren’t willing to brave the physicality, to take the hits over the middle.  Indeed every loss the Broncos suffered in 2013 were against teams that played tough man-to-man coverage.  So if the Oakland Raiders want to follow that trend, they’ll have to channel their predecessors of the John Madden era and be willing to risk a few flags in order to set the tone.  Demaryius Thomas and that outstanding receiving corps but feels as uncomfortable as possible.

Attack Peyton Manning

It pretty much goes with any quarterback but is especially true here.  If the Raiders can’t find a way to get to Peyton Manning, they will lose.  Period.  There is no argument or discussion.  The 38-year old is a four-time MVP and led the best offense in history last year.  Letting him stand comfortable in a pocket is a death wish for a defense.  Oakland invested a lot of money to improve their pass rush with veterans Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley and spending a 1st round pick on Khalil Mack.  Those three must team together to harass the future Hall of Famer as much as possible.

Otherwise he will wear them and the rest of the Raiders out again.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Darren McFadden Demaryius Thomas Maurice Jones-Drew Oakland Raiders Peyton Manning

  • Raider Grant

    Looking forward to seeing Woodly, Tuck, and Mack pressure Peyton, but lets not forget Moore, Smith, McGee, or a couple more newly acquired draft picks(jelly) too! We’ll see how it pans out, but on paper it looks like a Peyton Manning Sack Party in the near future! Go Raiders

    • KloverJane

      I agree. There’s no excuse not to put him down on his ass all day.

    • sickoe47

      Preach raider grant preach!!!

  • raidernation

    Easier said than done.. a lot of time manning completed 3rd downs on us y bcus Jenkins played ten yards of the receiver when they only needed 5 o 6 yards. So my point is it doesn’t matter how fast is the DL the DBs need to play tough man to man football which I believe Rogers is good at he can teach Haden, and the other rookies. Im glad Jenkins is gone

    • Erik Lambert

      Indeed. Al Davis was always right on that point. Defenses plays their best when they are in tight on the receivers.

    • PureSlaps

      The DB’s cant play man all game, it has to be a mixture of man , zone and blitz. manning would feast on man defense for an entire 4 qtrs bro.

      • raidernation

        Most of the time man to man and if works out fine u could do it for 30 plays , DL Lb could take care of the run game and the DB could play man to man. Zone will be part of tge system for the blitz packages . MANNING throw the ball quick , the zone will b a nightmare.. fear in Manning by the revamped D of the Raiders, Seahawks did it

        • PureSlaps

          You got a point i can’t argue with that, but that’s assuming these guys are gonna get after it. Lets hope so!

  • todd stevens

    This will be the first time in years that we have a consistently strong pass rush, led by a potential superstar in Mack. If the veteran defensive backs can help Hayden, McGill and Carrie come along quickly it’ll only help that pass rush. No Super Bowl prediction, but we could really turn some heads this year.

  • ldazzle

    Fellow Raider Fans, let’s not forget the Chiefs, & Chokers!

  • YourAntithesis

    This isn’t anything spectacular; this is football 101. All the points made here are taught at the high school level. The most glaring one in the fact that the most “awesome” QB looks mediocre-to-terrible under immense pressure. Brady looked average at best in both SB losses to the Giants.

    Manning proved in the SB loss against Seattle that under pressure, he’s not “clutch”; under pressure, he’s not “the best QB in history”, as many claim.

    The short answer is: duplicate what Seattle did to him on the big stage.

    • Erik Lambert

      Yet for whatever reason the Raiders can’t seem to do football 101 very much.

    • RaiderE

      Manning, while being one of the best QB’s ever to play, always has been the a choke artist if you look at his history.

      • YourAntithesis

        I agree. I’m not the one putting him on a pedestal. It is downright sickening how the media slurps this guy up at every turn. The truth is he’s 1-2 in SB appearances, meaning our very own Jim Plunkett has twice as many rings as he does. Hell, so does his little brother and he’s played about half as much. However, our team made him look like he’s got a big red ‘S’ on his chest, and that should stop this season if both our players and our coaching staff have any pride and are truly worth their salt.

  • Mike Millan

    This is the first time in a long time I am actually looking forward to seeing the Raiders play.