Take Advantage of the Missing
The Broncos are coming into the game, not exactly limping, but a little dinged up nonetheless. They will be playing this game without a few key contributors on both sides of the ball. It’s up to the Raiders to recognize these absences and exploit them.
On the offensive side, the Broncos are going to be without their workhorse – C.J. Anderson. Denver’s running game has been mediocre this season, checking in at number twenty in the league, but they’ve helped bail their offense out at times by gutting out tough yards and making the occasional splash play.
But Anderson was the focal point of their running attack, logging team highs in attempts (110), yards (437), and touchdowns (4). But Anderson has been placed on IR, needing to have surgery to repair his meniscus – an injury he sustained during Denver’s week seven game with Houston.
Anderson may only miss eight weeks, but he very well could miss the rest of the season. It’s unknown at this point. Which shifts the burden of the running game to rookie Devontae Booker.
At 5’11’, 215 lbs., Booker isn’t small – nor is he big. What he is though, is a good compliment to Anderson. Much in the way DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are excellent compliments to Latavius Murray. It’s unknown at this point, whether Booker can handle being Denver’s featured back.
So far this season, Booker has been used mainly as a change of pace kind of guy. He’s got just 70 carries for 298 yards and a pair of scores. He also has three lost fumbles on the season – a relatively high number of fumbles for the number of carries he has.
With Denver’s running game – a necessity to help quarterback Trevor Siemian, who has been “okay” so far this season – in a bit of disarray with the Anderson situation, the Raiders absolutely must take advantage of that.
They are going to need to shut down Booker – perhaps even force a turnover or two from the rookie – and force Siemian to win this game.
The Raiders have an advantage in not having to face Anderson. And with a run defense that is slowly improving, they must press it.