This will be high noon for the Oakland Raiders during the 2014 season. The Denver Broncos are the measuring stick in the division. Can they win it?
Subplot: Solving the Peyton Manning equation
It’s not easy to think about for the Oakland Raiders but facts are facts. They haven’t beaten the Denver Broncos once since quarterback Peyton Manning took over in 2012. If they have any hope of competing in the AFC West, that must change. This home stand will likely be their best opportunity and cannot be wasted.
Stop Montee Ball
It may sound counter-intuitive considering that the Broncos’ bread and butter is throwing the ball but anybody with a good memory should know that a great way to make Peyton Manning more dangerous is by giving him a ground game. Before the Raiders can even think about how to stop that aerial attack, they must lock down second-year running back Montee Ball. That means a good game from the front seven, particularly what will be a new linebacking corps.
Attack Von Miller
On the other side, the Oakland Raiders offense will be challenged by a remade Denver defense featuring new faces like Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. However, the success of that unit will still go through linebacker Von Miller, their best pass rusher. Oakland must gear their offensive game plan around neutralizing Miller. That means running the ball to his size often, using their big offensive line as an advantage. It also means throwing the ball to his side of the field, forcing him to sometimes play coverage and be a complete linebacker. It won’t be easy, but it will help the cause more than any other strategy.