Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Denver Broncos

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Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; General view of a third down marker during the first quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game between the Indianapolis Colts against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Get Off The Field

Last week, the Raiders were absolutely humiliated by the Bears on third down conversions. Whenever Oakland needed a big third down stop, they failed to get it. Those failures on third – and fourth down – conversion attempts is what allowed the Bears to march down the field for the game winning field goal.

If they allow Denver to extend drives at will like they allowed Chicago to, it’s going to be a very long afternoon for the Raiders. All told, the Raiders are twenty ninth in the league in third down conversion percentage, allowing 26 conversions on 57 attempts for a staggering 45.6 percent success rate for opposing offenses – only Chicago, Detroit, and Jacksonville are worse.

Allowing the offense to convert their third downs and extend drives wears the defense out. By the time the fourth quarter rolls around, the defense is gassed – just look at the tape of the Chicago game if you need visual confirmation.

Denver’s offense has struggled at times this season. It’s struggled mightily at times, in fact. Whether it’s a side effect of Gary Kubiak‘s system or Manning’s age catching up to him, this isn’t the same offense that will hang 50 points on you every game. But this is still an offense that can hang 50 points on you if they get the chance. They’re explosive and yet understated, and the Raiders can ill afford to give them second, third, and fourth chances to keep the ball by extending drives.

Oakland’s defense is going to need to make the important stops and get the defense off the field. They absolutely, positively must stuff Denver on third downs or they’ll be in big trouble.

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