Outsiders Perspective: Oakland Raiders

Brian Bahr

How do the experts at Football Outsiders ranks Denver's opponent this week, the Oakland Raiders?

Recall that negative VOA's are good on defense, bad on offense and specials. Football Outsiders stats explained.

Raiders Offense

-0.8% VOA - 18th - The Raiders live and die by their run game, and they have the most rushing yards in the NFL through two weeks behind the legs of RB Darren McFadden and QB Terrell Pryor. They get those yards in big chunks, but they're rather efficient in the ground game too, earning a 5th-best 13.1% rushing VOA. Their -5.5% passing VOA ranks 27th in the league, however; from watching film, it's hard to believe there are five teams worse than the Raiders in passing. While the Raiders may look like a tame, one-trick pony from these stats, there is one important item to note - they rank higher offensively than either the Giants or the Ravens, Denver's two opponents this year.

The matchup: Broncos defense is -13.6% VOA (7th), with an impressive -40.4% rushing defense VOA (4th).

Raiders Defense

2.4% VOA - 19th - The Raiders have faced the Colts and Jaguars so far - not exactly offensive powerhouses - and they still rank in the bottom half of the league defensively. It's not clear how much of this is causation - Football Outsiders considers the strength of your opponent in its rankings - but at this early point in the season that should be minimal. The Raiders can blitz and lead the league in sacks, so it will be interesting to see how Chris Clark handles his first start at left tackle as Peyton Manning's blind side protection.

The matchup: Broncos offense is 47.1% VOA (2nd).

Raiders Special Teams

-10.1% - 29th - I was surprised to see the Raiders this low in special teams. They had a good punt return in their game Sunday, and they have big names at punter and kicker. However, those big names haven't led to more accurate kicks or effective punts.

The matchup: Broncos special teams is tops in the league at 11.4%.

Analysis

The Broncos outrank the Raiders significantly, in all factors of football, and their opponents have been more formidable than Oakland's too. They should dominate the Raiders on Monday Night Football this week.

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