Denver fans wonder if this is the week Tim Tebow gets to play. The Broncos visit the Oakland Raiders this week. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
The Denver Broncos continue their late season road trip with a swing up to Northern California for their annual visit to the Black Hole to vie with the Raiders. The Broncos are 3-10 and continue their exercise in futility while the 6-7 Raiders try to rebound from a last minute loss in Jacksonville. They are in 3rd place in the AFC West, one game behind the Chargers and two behind the division leading Chiefs.
The first four games of the season were blacked out for Oakland with crowds under 50,000, and a season low of just over 32,000 in a game against Houston. But big wins against Denver and Seattle led to an increase in ticket sales for the Week 9 match-up against the Chiefs, which was sold out and was the first Raiders home game televised in the market in 2010. This one will be nationally televised by CBS from Oakland Coliseum @ 2:15 pm MST. Gus Johnson is set to call the play-by-play and Steve Tasker will be the color man. You can find the NFL Broadcast map here.
Weather and Conditions
The weather forecast for Sunday's match-up is calling for:
|Precip: 90%Spectator Index:1|
For the current up to date weather conditions, visit here.
Injuries and external factors
Rookie LB Rolando McClain has an undisclosed Foot injury and is a long shot to play against the Broncos. If he doesn't suit up, veteran Ricky Brown will fill in for the second week. McClain's youthful energy and take charge attitude would be missed.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha is recovering from an Ankle sprain and should play on Sunday.
DT Richard Seymour has a sore Knee and took a veterans day off on Wednesday. He will be probable.
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins has an Ankle injury and his status is questionable.
WR Nick Miller (Ankle) was limited in practice. He will be the punt returner if Higgins can't play.
S Tyvon Branch (Shoulder), LB Travis Goethel (Knee), CB Chris Johnson (Groin) and TE Zach Miller (Foot) were all Full participants in practice and will play.
OT Khalif Barnes (Back) practiced in Full and is probable for Sunday's game.
S Hiram Eugene (Ribs) practiced on a Limited basis and will be probable.
2nd string QB Kyle Boller (Quadriceps) was Limited this week. That could pose a problem if he gets any significant playing time.
Offense is ranked 10th in points (24.2), 14th in Total yards (349.1), 24th in Passing yards (199.8) and 3rd in Rushing with 149.3 yards per game. They are 34.8% (63/181) on 3rd down conversions and the Line has allowed 37 Sacks. The Raiders have committed 119 penalties for 999 yards against them. They are also (-3) in Turnovers.
Jason Campbell (135/236 for 1763 yds, a 57.2% Comp. Rate, 10 TD, 6 INT and an 84.4 QB rating) is the Raider's starting quarterback. Bruce Gradkowski (83/157 for 1059 yds, a 52.9% Comp. Rate, 5 TD, 7 INT and a 66.3 QB rating) is done for the season, making Kyle Boller the backup. Newly acquired J.T. O'Sullivan is the 3rd option.
The Raiders depend on their running game to have success with the pass. Their Running Back's are Darren McFadden (993 yds, 5.2 avg, 7 TD and 39 Rec, 437 yds, 3 TD's receiving), Michael Bush (475 yds, 4.0 avg, 5 TD's and 11 Rec, 145 yds), Rock Cartwright and Michael Bennett. Marcel Reece (22 car, 103 yds, 1 TD and 21 Rec, 252 yds, 2TD's) is the Fullback.
Oakland's Wide Receivers are Darrius Heyward-Bey (21 rec, 306 yds, 1 TD), Louis Murphy (36 Rec, 530 yds, 16.2 avg, 2 TD), Johnnie Lee Higgins (10 rec, 103 yds) and Rookie speedster Jacoby Ford (19 Rec, 367 yds, 2 TD and 7 carries for 62 yds), Nick Miller (3 Rec, 40 yds) and the often injured Chaz Schilens (2 games, 0 Rec.). The leading receiver for the Raiders is Tight End Zach Miller. He has 42 catches for 549 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brandon Myers (10 Rec, 69 yds) is his backup.
The starting Offensive Linemen for Oakland are LT Mario Henderson, LG Robert Gallery, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle and RT Langston Walker. The understudies are Rookie Jared Veldheer, Daniel Loper, Rookie Bruce Campbell and Khalif Barnes.
Defensively, the Raiders rank 20th in points against (23.6), 14th in Total yards against (335.3), 7th in Pass Defense (202.5) and 26th against the run (132.8). They are third in the league with 38 Sacks and are allowing their opponents a 35.6% (63/177) conversion rate on 3rd down.
The Raiders play run a 4-3 defense. Rookie Lamarr Houston (24 TKL, 5 AST, 4 SK, 1 FF) starts at the Left End. The Tackles are Tommy Kelly (30 TKL, 17 AST, 6.5 SK) and Richard Seymour (34 TKL, 12 AST, 5.5 SK). Kelly has taken over John Henderson's (12 TKL, 3 AST) spot because of injuries. At Right End, Matt Shaughnessy (34 TKL, 9 AST, 5.5 SK, 2 FF) got the starting nod when Trevor Scott (14 TKL, 9 AST, 1.5 SK) went on Injured Reserve. The Raiders picked up former Bronco Jarvis Moss to take Scott's roster spot and Desmond Bryant (9 TKL, 4 AST, 1.5 SK) is the 7th lineman.
The starters at the three Linebacker positions are Kamerion Wimbley (40 TKL, 9 AST, 6 SK, 1 FF, 1 PD), Rookie Rolando McClain (44 TKL, 20 AST, 0.5 SK, 4 PD, 1 INT), and Quentin Groves (23 TKL, 10 AST, 1 PD, 1 INT). Sam Williams, Bruce Davis, Ricky Brown, Rookie Travis Goethel and Thomas Howard are the backups.
At the Corners, the left side is controlled by Nnamdi Asomugha (14 TKL, 2 AST, 5 PD). Stanford Routt (38 TKL, 6 AST, 1 FF, 10 PD, 1 INT) patrols the right side. Chris Johnson (11 TKL, 1 AST, 6 PD, 1 INT, 1TD) is the Nickel CB. Rookies Walter McFadden (4 TKL) and Jeremy Ware (1 TKL, 3 PD, 1 INT) round out the position.
The Free Safety is Michael Huff (64 TKL, 16 AST, 4 SK, 3 FF, 4 PD, 1 INT) and the leading tackler for Oakland is Strong Safety Tyvon Branch (64 TKL, 22 AST, 3 SK, 1 FF, 3 PD, 2 INT). Mike Mitchell (34 TKL, 9 AST, 1 FF, 5 PD) leads all Raiders non-starters in tackles. Rookie Stevie Brown (20 TKL, 4 AST, 2 PD) and Hiram Eugene (14 TKL, 1 AST) make up the rest of the unit.
Oakland's kicker is Sebastian Janikowski. And while he is supposed to have a big leg, he hasn't been too accurate this year. He is 25/32 for 78% on the season. That is good for 29th in the NFL. Not only that, but he is only 7/13 (53.8%) from beyond 40 yards. Sebastian has made all 33 PAT's. His kickoffs are landing at the two-yard line and he's had 28 touch-backs in 72 kickoffs. 43 of Janikowski's kickoffs have been returned an average of 24.1 yards, and 1 has gone the distance.
Punter Shane Lechler is one of the best in the league. His average has gone down from 50.1 yards per Punt to 47.5 since the last meeting with the Broncos and his Net average is 40.5 yards (5th). He has placed 22 punts inside the 20 yard line, 5 inside the 10. Nine have been fair caught and 4 have gone for a touch-back. Not bad for 63 punts. 38 of his punts have been returned for an average of 10.6 yards.
Kick Returner Rookie Jacoby Ford (41 Ret, 954 yds, a 23.3 avg, 102 Long and 2 TD's) has been the primary Kick Returner and Rock Cartwright (4 Ret, 80 yds, 20.0 avg.) has had a few of his own.
The main Punt Returner is Nick Miller. He has 27 returns for a 7.2 yard average and has called for 3 Fair Catches. His longest return this year, is 46 yards. Johnnie Lee Higgins has17 returns for a 7.2 average and a long of 53.
The Long Snapper is Jon Condo and the Holder is Shane Lechler. Rock Cartwright is the Raiders leading Special Teams tackler with 15 stops. Hiram Eugene has 8, Stevie Brown (6), Mike Huff, Jon Condo have 5 each and Sam Williams, Michael Bennett and Thomas Howard have 4 a piece. The unit has two blocked punts, one resulted in a touchdown and the other a Safety, both against the Chargers.
Between the annihilation of the Broncos in WEEK 7 and up to last Sunday, the Raiders have gone 3-2. They beat Seattle 33-3 and Kansas City 23-20 in OT at the Black Hole. The next two games were losses, 35-3 in Pittsburgh and 33-17 to the Dolphins at home.
In WEEK 13, the Raiders completed their first sweep of the Chargers since 2001 with a 21-13 rout in San Diego. Jason Campbell ran for a touchdown, threw for another and Oakland's running game racked up 251 yards. Darren McFadden ran for 97 yards and a TD, Michael Bush ran for 95 yards and a score and the Raiders took advantage of San Diego mistakes to stun the Chargers.
Darren Sproles fumbled a punt early in the 1st quarter and Hiram Eugene recovered at the San Diego 18. That set up Campbell's naked bootleg score.
On the next Chargers possession, Philip Rivers overthrew Malcolm Floyd and was intercepted by Michael Huff. Campbell converted the turnover into 7 points with a 4-yard TD pass to rookie Jacoby Ford.
San Diego was held to a scant 21 yards on the ground and no 1st downs rushing. Philip Rivers threw for 280 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Campbell led a 7 play, 62 yard drive that ended with Darren McFadden's 7 yard rushing TD to put the game out of reach and give Oakland it's 6th victory in 2010.
LAST WEEK at Jacksonville, David Garrard threw for three touchdowns and Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings ran for over 100 yards each as the Jaguars beat the Oakland Raiders 38-31.That and a late defensive stand were enough to offset a 3 touchdown effort by Darren McFadden. Jacksonville had to come back from a 10-point deficit at halftime and made more big plays than Oakland.
In the first quarter the Raiders took the lead as QB Jason Campbell completed a 67-yard TD pass to RB Darren McFadden. The Jaguars scored in the 2nd quarter on a David Garrard 1-yard TD pass to Marcedes Lewis. Oakland took the lead on Sebastian Janikowski's 26-yard field goal. Mike Mitchell intercepted Garrard and the Raiders turned it into points on Campbell's 8-yard touchdown toss to Louis Murphy.
In the 3rd quarter, the teams traded TD's as Garrard fired a 48-yard TD pass to Jason Hill and McFadden took off for a 51 yard touchdown. The Jags scored twice more on Rashad Jennings 74-yard TD run, followed by Garrard hitting Mike Sims-Walker for a 10-yard TD.
Josh Scobee then booted a 19-yard FG early in the 4th quarter. The Raiders evened the score as McFadden got a 36-yard TD run, but Jacksonville took the game when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a 30-yard TD with less than two minutes left. Campbell drove his team down to the Jags 32 yard line, but was sacked by Jeremy Mincey with 11 seconds left. They tried to get Jacoby Ford the ball in open space, but the Jaguars stopped him at the 23 as time expired.
The Raiders (6-7) lost for the 3rd time in their last four games and are forced to win out and rely on the Chargers and Chiefs meltdown for any chance to play in the postseason.
The Broncos have a 41-57-2 record against Oakland. When they meet at Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders have a 30-20 edge. The Broncos have won six of the last seven in Oakland and look to win their 3rd game in a row at the Black Hole. In their last visit, the Broncos pillaged the Raiders 23-3 in Week 3 of 2009. This time, Denver comes in retribution for the 59-14 beat down they suffered in Week 7 at Invesco. Now that was bad, but it wasn't the worst defeat in this rivalry. On September 10th of the 1967 season, the Raiders seriously spanked the Broncos 51-0 in Oakland.
The Raiders are looking for their 5th division win this year. Oakland needs to win its final three games and get help from Kansas City (8-5) and San Diego (8-6) for any chance of a playoff spot.
Las Vegas has Oakland by 6.5 points.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A couple of hard sacks and this game could come down to the number 2 quarterbacks. Jason Campbell sustained a stinger last week, his second in as many games. Both occurrences caused him to leave the game. Oakland can hardly afford another lost QB. Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski are out for the year and backups Kyle Boller and recent acquisition J.T. O'Sullivan have less than a dozen snaps this year. Kyle Orton has injured ribs and Rookie Tim Tebow could find himself playing this week.
The Raiders want a sweep and the Broncos want some payback for an embarrassing loss in front of their own home crowd. Turn about is fair play right?