Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Denver Broncos

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Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety David Bruton Jr. (30) watches as Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) makes a call behind guard Gabe Jackson (66) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders, coming off a bad loss to the Chicago Bears, are facing a tough task as they seek to remain competitive in the AFC West. A win keeps them a game behind the Broncos for the top spot in the division. A loss puts them three games back. It’s not yet crisis time and it’s still a little too early in the season to hit the panic button, but a loss on Sunday would put them in a tough spot.

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The Broncos pose quite a few challenges for a young Raiders squad who, in large part, are still learning what it takes to be consistent and to win in this league. Denver is a veteran squad who has had a tremendous amount of success, is battle tested, and who has learned those lessons a long time ago.

Needless to say, many are expecting this game to be a one sided affair. Many – especially those fans back in the Mile High City – are expecting Denver to run away with the game.

And it’s hard to blame them. Since Peyton Manning came over to the Broncos in 2012, Denver is a perfect 6-0 against the Silver and Black. Over the span of those six games, the Raiders have been outscored 222-85. Just last season – perhaps, the low point of the heated division rivalry – the Broncos outscored Oakland 88-31.

Against the Raiders, Manning owns a career 9-2 record, has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes (278/404) for 3,162 yards, has thrown 28 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, and has a QB rating of 103.7. Those are pretty heady stats and against a Raiders’ secondary that ranks among the worst in the league, most expect that he will continue that dominance.

But this is a very different and far more talented Raiders squad than Manning has likely ever faced. Yes, on paper, the Broncos should extend Manning’s personal winning streak against the Raiders to seven games, and Denver’s overall winning streak to eight straight.

Division rivalry games though, are a different sort of beast. They can bring out the best in a team. Denver is a good team. A very good team. But they’re not a team that is infallible. There are most definitely chinks in that armor. It’s up to HC Jack Del Rio and his staff to find them and exploit them.

The Broncos pose some very stiff challenges for the Raiders. But there is a path to victory for Oakland. Here are some keys to a Raiders win over their most hated rival.

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