The Denver Broncos Week 3 loss to the Buffalo Bills was just as shocking as the dominance that preceded it the week before against Dallas. Now, looking to Week 4, the Broncos face off with the Oakland Raiders. There are a few keys to a bounce back win.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio podcast, Denver will need to address a few areas to get a win against a division rival.
First and foremost, the play calling must improve for the Broncos to be successful. While Vance Joseph and company struggled against the Bills, they are clearly capable of constructing a successful game plan. It will be essential for Mike McCoy to return to previous form.
The Broncos have had their most success when running the football and controlling the clock. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles are poised to break out this season. While they went away from the run early against Buffalo, Denver was able to dictate the game against the Cowboys by running the ball.
C.J. Anderson has picked up 43.0% of his yardage on runs to 15 or more yards pic.twitter.com/tRGnT13Saj— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 26, 2017
The Broncos are averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and are the 3rd leading rushing team in the NFL. That includes the 111 rushing yards against the Bills. That will have to change against the Raiders. The key to keeping Khalil Mack and company honest it establishing the run. This will also lead to opening up the passing game for Trevor Siemian.
The defense will need to continue its dominance against the run. While the No Fly Zone took a step back in Buffalo, the run defense proved it was for real. Continuing the trend of stopping the run will go a long way to beating the Raiders. The concern will be how the secondary can stand up to Oakland’s passing attack.
Raider week is always big in Broncos Country. This week could be the turning point for both teams’ seasons. Important games like this, so early in the season, are essential to a successful campaign. The Broncos have a chance at a special season, but Week 4 will go a long way to showing whether or not Denver is ready to take the next step toward the playoffs.