Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
After facing 3 top ranked defenses to start the season, the Broncos welcome the Raiders defense, who isn't nearly as good as the others. The Raiders have the 26th ranked passing defense, and the 20th ranked rushing defense. The Raiders are coming off a victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so we'll see if they can carry over their momentum this sunday. Now lets take a look at the Raiders defensive starters. DE's: Lamarr Houston, Matt Shaughnessy DT's: Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly OLB's: Miles Burris, Phillip Wheeler MLB: Rolando McClain CB's: Pat Lee, Joselio Hanson FS Michael Huff SS Tyvon Branch
Probably the strength of the Raiders defense. They have some big talented guys in the middle in Seymour and Kelly, and two big guys on the edges in Houston and Shaughnessy. This group should be solid against the run and struggle in getting after the passer. The raiders D has only sacked the QB 3 times this season and allowed 349 yards on the ground. So this D-Line has been struggling. The Broncos need to take advantage of this. This is a talented group though, so we'll see if the Raiders D-Line continues to disappoint or not.
I have been pleasantly surprised by this unit. They have contained teams rushing attacks and have gotten after the QB, just not as much as we would like. The Broncos rank 13th in run defense, so that's a plus. Most would have thought that stopping the run would be an issue for the Broncos, but it seems like coach Fox and Del Rio have done a good job so far. They have also been pretty decent in pass defense. They have racked up 7 sacks, and have held teams to an average of 233 passing yards a game. Not too bad considering they have played three pretty damn good QB's. This unit needs to get after QB Carson Palmer and keep RB Darren McFadden in check.
The Raiders have a mixed bag at LB. McClain a high first round pick in the middle, a veteran in Wheeler on the outside, and opposite of Wheeler, a rookie in Burris. Wheeler leads the team with 25 total tackles, McClain has 16 and Burris has 14. An average group here, the Broncos need to take advantage of this unit.
The Broncos will be without suspended LB Joe Mays this week. In his place, 15 year vet, Keith Brooking(Yuck) looks to replace Mays. Stud LB Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard on the outside. Woodyard leads the team with 20 total tackles and Miller leads the team with 3 sacks. I'm worried about the MLB spot. I don't trust Brooking in the middle against Darren McFadden. Un-Drafted rookie Steven Johnson may see sometime in the middle as well. I also wouldn't be surprised if rookie LB Danny Trevathan see's some work this week in nickel packages. Either way, we need someone to step up in place of Mays.
The Raiders corners could be in for a long day Sunday. Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson doesn't put fear into many QB's. I'm looking for QB Peyton Manning to have his way with this CB tandem. Decker and DT need to make some plays against these corners. The Raiders safeties are pretty good though. Former first round pick Michael Huff has turned into a decent player, and SS Tyvon Branch is one of the best at his position. Overall, i like our chances against this secondary. However, i did say the same thing about the Falcons secondary...
We need a healthy Tracy Porter this week. Palmer likes going deep, and is prone to interceptions, and will probably attack the corner opposite of Champ Bailey. I like Chris Harris, but i prefer him in the slot. If we can have a healthy secondary against this Raiders passing attack, i like our chances. For what it's worth, both Harris and Porter have been full participants in practice this week. Rahim Moore, your leash is getting shorter and shorter. Thankfully for you, Quinton Carter is down with a knee injury right now. We need you to make some plays in the passing game. You're a solid tackler, but haven't done too much in the passing game. With Palmer going deep a lot, lets hope you can get an INT or two. We also need someone to cover TE Brandon Myers. As i said in the offensive preview, he's one of Palmers favorite targets, and TE has been a major weakness for us this season. Mike Adams and Moore need to do well this weekend.