Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Denver Broncos

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Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) runs for a touchdown during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Beware The Ground Game

Through the first three weeks of the season, Denver’s ground game – thought to be a staple of a Kubiak-led offense – was virtually non-existent. In those first three games of the years, Denver rushed for 69, 61, and 41 yards, respectively.

Against the Vikings last week though, Denver’s dormant running game seemed to wake up. As a team, the Broncos rushed for 144 yards with Ronnie Hillman‘s 103 yards leading the way.

Oct 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) and outside linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (57) stop Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders did a tremendous job of upgrading their run defense this offseason, adding players like Dan Williams and Curtis Lofton. The early results this season have been good. The Raiders rank eleventh in the NFL, giving up just a tick over 93 yards per game.

They have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher on the season – though Matt Forte certainly got close with his 91 yards last week. Though the silver lining to that statistic is that the defense held him to a below average3.6 yards per carry on the day.

The point though, is that Kubiak loves to run the ball. Everybody knows this. And with Hillman and C.J. Anderson running the ball, the potential is there for Denver to have a very big day on the ground. The Raiders must take care to guard against that. Though a lot of preparation and focus will be on Manning and the passing game, the Raiders need to be just as prepared for an all out ground assault as well.

The Broncos present a very serious dual threat. Neither prongs of their attack have been especially dominant this season, but they have the ability and potential to explode and take over a game. The Raiders are going to have to be prepared to stuff both prongs of Denver’s attack.

Next: Big Body on Big Body