With five straight losses, the Raiders welcome the AFC-leading Denver Broncos in a divisional matchup. The Raiders will be looking to earn their fifth victory. The Broncos are comfortably in the postseason and are looking to secure the top spot in the AFC.
Let’s take at the five keys to victory for the Raiders over the Broncos:
The Raiders will be taking on a high-powered Bronco offense that thrives on field position and can score quickly. Terrelle Pryor will be starting at quarterback and has been prone to interceptions this season. The team will need Pryor to keep the ball in the offense’s hands and not give the opposition any easy drives.
In terms of fumbles, the Raiders have done well this season on offense and should not have a problem coughing up the football. The Broncos will score and the Raiders will have to keep up the scoring in order to hang with them. Pryor cannot thrown any interceptions that would give the Broncos any extra possessions.
If the Raiders can limit turnovers, they will have a chance against the AFC leaders.
The Raiders season has not turned out quite how they would have expected after starting the year 3-4 and in playoff contention as late as Week 12. All the team has to play for now is pride and it will have to use that to fuel an energetic effort against the Broncos. The Raiders will be playing at home in front of a sell-out crowd that should give them enough of a reason to play hard.
The matchup pits division rivals against each other, giving the team another incentive for a victory. Head coach Dennis Allen will be looking for a victory to potentially save his job and will have to get his team hyped up and prepared to play hard. The Raiders cannot erase a season of bad games with a victory, but they can ease it with a season-ending triumph.
The Raiders should give their fans an all-around effort in their season finale.
The best way to slow down Manning is to get a pass rush and knock him down a few times. If Lamarr Houston and the defensive line can get to the Bronco quarterback then they will have a much easier time keeping the Broncos out of the end zone. A few sacks and knockdowns would cause Manning to become hesitant in the pocket and force him into some bad throws.
The Raiders were able to bring down Manning just one time in the first matchup and he threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-21 victory. The defense allowed Manning to be comfortable throwing the football and he was able to torch them. The Raiders should take some chances with more blitz packages in order to reach Manning.
Look for the Raiders to attack the offensive line and get to Manning a few times.
Not only has the defense struggled on third down this season, but the offense has not been efficient on third down and it has caused them to have stalled drives. The offense will have to do better on the first two downs in order to have manageable third downs and keep drives alive. If the Raiders can get a strong run game established, it will make third down conversions much easier.
On defense, the Raiders have struggled in getting that last stop before fourth down and have seen offenses enjoy long, scoring drives. The last time the two played each other, the Broncos were 5-9 on third down and scored 37 points. The Raiders will have to do a much better job if they plan on keeping the game close.
The Raiders have not been able to fix this flaw all season but will need to if they plan on winning their fifth game.
Even with a strong game on defense, the Raiders cannot win if they do not score. The offense has struggled to put up points and will have to do so this week with a different quarterback than the previous six weeks. Pryor adds a different dynamic to the offense and could find success against a Broncos defense susceptible to the run game.
With Pryor, the Raiders become more of a running team and will have to pound the ball and find the end zone. The Raiders offense cannot stall and become stagnant because the Broncos will likely put up some points. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson must be willing to take chances because the Raiders need touchdowns and cannot settle for field goals.
If the Raiders can get a few big plays, they may be able to score enough points to upset the Broncos.