Every year in Denver, a group of Appliance stores offer up to a million dollars in appliances to fans if the Broncos shut out the Raiders. The confidence is high in Denver for this to happen. Let's look ahead.
The Raiders will win if:
The Raiders need to blitz and blitz often. Peyton Manning is the best protected QB in the history of the NFL and it isn't close. No one has been sacked less than Manning. With his history of failures in the post season with many key interceptions (including last year against the Ravens, several against the Patriots, and the pick six that won the game for the Saints in the Superbowl just off the top of my head) it's obvious if you make Manning uncomfortable, you can beat him. The Raiders need to mix up and hide their blitzes but if Peyton has all day to throw, it's going to be a long night for Oakland.
Broncos all pro left tackle Ryan Clady is now out for the season and that is a huge loss. The Raiders need to capitalize on this. The Raiders need to make this a grind it out physical game.
The Raiders need to run the ball and run it often. They have to keep Terrelle Pryor from having to throw on obvious passing downs. Pryor needs to get going with short safe passes. The Raiders need to throw on first down at times and also not be predictable.
The red zone offense has to improve. The Chiefs last night were in the red zone 6 times against the Eagles, and KC kept them in the game scoring only 1 touchdown. The uber conservative Alex Smith may not throw interceptions but he also won't score touchdowns. I use that example because the Raiders were way too conservative in the red zone against the Jaguars and they need to open up the offense. A quarterback draw or shovel pass will help, along with getting the tight ends involved. Giving the talented Marcel Reece 2-3 touches a game should be a crime. The Raiders offense is wasting him.
The Broncos will win if:
The key for the whole game is can they protect Peyton Manning. If they can, Manning should have a big night and with the Raiders problems scoring touchdowns, the game will be over early.
With the new rules in the past few years you are seeing teams pass for unreal numbers. It's very difficult now to stop a great passing team and this matchup looks like a mismatch on paper. Wide receivers are not wary of going over the middle anymore.
The defense isn't the same without the suspended Von Miller, but they haven't had to be. They stop the run fairly well and even though they gave up 27 and 23 points respectively, the games were blowouts.
Denver is trying to become more balanced and they ran the ball well last week with Knowshon Moreno. If they can run the ball the Raiders will be in big trouble.
The Raiders right now are not a good scoring team and lack a passing game. Red zone touchdowns are few and far between and if Sebastian Janikowski is busy, the Raiders will be in trouble. Terrelle Pryor is still learning and the Raiders are a work in progress. If the Raiders don't have a big running game, there is no way they can win. Pryor will have to have a big game running the ball. The Raiders are on the right track but they are playing a team on the road who just beat the last 2 Superbowl winners pretty handily. No appliances will be given out but Bronco fans will go home happy and Raider fans will have to be patient with a team that is building a foundation for winning.
Final Score: Broncos 38-Raiders 13
9/23/13, 6:40 PM (PST) @ Invesco Field, Denver, Colorado