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Game script! Want the most in-depth preview of Week 4’s

Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Week 4 finds both the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos coming off of losses with a slight Vegas lean favoring the Broncos. Derek Carr has tossed as many touchdowns as Trevor Siemian, Amari Cooper has a pretty major case of the dropsies, Bradley Roby did not practice this week, Marshawn Lynch is averaging 3.86 yards-per-carry and Oakland's defense gave up 150 yards receiving to a running back last weekend. So, what does that all mean and how does it all apply to Sunday's game? We think that it equals a Broncos win. Get in where you fit it, because study long, study wrong. Join your host Ian Henson and the greatest group of Broncos fans on the internet live, right now.

Posted by Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog on Friday, September 29, 2017

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Week 4 finds both the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos coming off of losses with a slight Vegas lean favoring the Broncos. Derek Carr has tossed as many touchdowns as Trevor Siemian, Amari Cooper has a pretty major case of the dropsies, Bradley Roby did not practice this week, Marshawn Lynch is averaging 3.86 yards-per-carry and Oakland's defense gave up 150 yards receiving to a running back last weekend.

So, what does that all mean and how does it all apply to Sunday's game?

We think that it equals a Broncos win.

Get in where you fit it, because study long, study wrong. Join your host Ian Henson and the greatest group of Broncos fans on the internet live, right now.

An excerpt from today’s edition of The Strongside Blitz, sign-up right here:


(Breaking the Oakland Raiders)

Here is in depth coverage on the Week 4 match-up between the Broncos as they host the Raiders.

In Week 3 the Oakland Raiders traveled to the nation's capital to face Washington, in what would become a pretty dominant performance by Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins finished the day with only five incomplete passes going 25 for 30 for three touchdowns and no turnovers.

The Raiders weren't able to stop Washington's backup running back Chris Thompson who was misused on the ground -- 38 yards on eight carries (4.8 yards-per-carry) to rookie Samaje Perine's 19 rushes for 49 yards (2.6 yards-per-carry) -- but managed to be quite a factor through the air. Thompson had six receptions on seven targets for 150 yards and a touchdown.

Cousins only had two receivers finish with over fifty-yards receiving, Jamison Crowder had six targets and six receptions for 52 yards and Josh Doctson had one reception for 52 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Vernon Davis had five catches on five targets for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Raiders defense has all kinds of holes in it and Washington definitely wasn't without faults, both Crowder and Perine put a ball on the ground and lost it. Oakland simply couldn't keep up or put up anything. At halftime it was 14-0 Washington, the Raiders managed one touchdown and a garbage time field goal for the entire game while going on to give up 13 second-half points.

Marshawn Lynch ran six times for 18 yards and the Raiders as a group ran for 32 yards total.

But, wait there's more:

As a group Oakland had 118 receiving yards, tight end Jared Cook led the team in receiving yards with 43 (and a long of 21) on four catches and the Raiders only touchdown. Backup running back DeAndre Washington tied Cook's six targets, but managed five receptions, but for only 24 yards.

Michael Crabtree was targeted three times, had one catch for seven yards and Amari Cooper was targeted five times, but only managed one catch for six yards.

Derek Carr finished with a QB Rating of 52.9.


When Oakland is on offense:

Oakland will find out quickly that Denver's going to give them the business if they try to run it on them this season. It leaves for much more interesting matchups, like

Whoever emerges from that madness will cover

On paper, based on ProFootballFocus metrics, Amari Cooper's match-up metrics with Bradley Roby's favor Roby by this week's highest 84%.

But wait, there's more, Chris Harris's match-up with Seth Roberts favors Harris by 78%. Aqib Talib's match-up with Michael Crabtree only favors Talib by 18%.

That makes tight end Jared Cook a problem. Brandon Marshall is giving up a catch every time that his receiver is targeted and he's giving up a catch every 6.3 plays. Darian Stewart gives up a catch every 12.8 plays and Justin Simmons gives up a catch every 19 plays.

When Denver is on offense:

The rumors of Trevor Siemian's demise were greatly exaggerated. Fantasy football writers call this a 'make good game', Siemian's about to make good on what he did last week. Why that is easy to call, check out how Kirk Cousins did with minimal effort. It's an easy call. But fantasy football is a game, based on chance.

There is a chance that Siemian doesn't right this ship, but now would be a bad time to do that. He has a bye week coming up and that's plenty of time for Paxton Lynch to come back into the picture and get healthy over say the next three weeks. Siemian's going to be fine, he's going to make Brock Osweiler expendable.

Running back Devontae Booker should finally be back! I know that I called that last week, but Vance Joseph said that he didn't feel that Booker was physically well enough to play last weekend. We think that the fake punt was in the game plan for Devontae Booker to run it. We also think that it should have been stopped by a timeout. However, when it wasn't, we think that De'Angelo Henderson was supposed to go the way that the ball was going and not run counter, but who knows!?

It would help explain why Booker will be active and likely Henderson will be inactive for this game. There's little to no need for a fourth running back, when Denver could keep a guy like lineman

As you guys crave a fix at right tackle, there is only one realistic shot at improving left. And it's a long shot. Billy Turner played right tackle for the Miami Dolphins last season, he didn't get to play it long, because Miami went through two starting left tackles and Turner had to kick over to left tackle in a hurry. He gave up multiple sacks from the left tackle spot and he was cut.

And signed by Denver. This was last season, so we've never really seen Billy Turner play right tackle for the Broncos. It is a long shot, but maybe he's the answer. Other than that answer, you'd have to try

One may read that as a sign that Stephenson is better blocking from the right side. Connor McGovern doesn't seem to have it together as a youngster with an excuse, right now, but he's being made active every week over Turner.

Oakland's safety tandem of Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph have spent 199 combined snap in pass coverage (100 for Nelson, 99 for Joseph). Nelson has been targeted four times and two of those have been caught -- for 57 yards 53 after first contact of the receiver (he whiffed big if you're not scared of that 50% incompletion rate). Nelson has only given up a catch once for every 50 of his coverages this season. Joseph has been targeted eight times and five of those have been caught -- for 55 yards with only 18 of those coming after contact. He has given up a catch every 19.8 times that he is in coverage.

Raiders' inside linebacker Cory James is making a run-stop 11% of the time that he's in run-defense mode.

And this is where you can waste Khalil Mack, in run-prevention.

Think about the amount of times that you've seen Von Miller in run-defense. He's been in run-defense on 48 plays this season. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin have been in run-defense for 60 and 56 plays this season respectively. Mack has 11 solo tackles and two assists. Irvin has six tackles and one missed tackle. Mack is stopping the ball carrier at or behind the line of scrimmage on 11.7% of the plays that he is used in run-defense, Irvin is 10.7% on that same metric.

The rest of the 66.6% of the time Oakland's linebackers aren't stopping the run. PFF's pass-rush productivity metric, which measure all rushes with success metrics of pressure, hits, hurries and weighted towards sacks, the highest score this week belongs to Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Lawrence with a score of 22.5, a zero in this metric would be bad, but a 5 or 6 means you've had a bit of success. Von Miller's score is a 15.9 and I call him an MVP candidate. Oakland's edge defenders: Irvin 2.8, Ward 5, Cowser 6.8, Mack 8.9. Denver's is below, sorry, it doesn't work up here.

PFF has that success metric for wide receivers cornerbacks and here are how the matchups favor the Broncos receivers: left cornerback David Amerson will match-up with Emmanuel Sanders in a match-up that favors Sanders slightly at 3%, right cornerback Gareon Conly will draw Demaryius Thomas in a match-up that favors Thomas by 14% and T.J. Carrie will lineup in the slot across from Bennie Fowler in a match-up that favors Fowler by 13%.

Siemian's quarterback rating when throwing at: Sanders 97.8%, Thomas 84.7%, Fowler 80.3%, Latimer 88.2%.

If Cody Latimer is inactive, expect Jordan Taylor to be active for his first game of the 2017 season.


When Oakland is on defense:

Khalil Mack is going to have a career game, unless Denver does something insanely different.

It isn't that he's that good, he's literally made a career off of playing Denver's right tackle. I wrote this entire thing in iambic pentameter so that I can ask in my Shakespearan sonnet whether the AFC West employs the best pass-rushers or just Von Miller and Denver's right tackle that season?

The players that are currently regarded as the best pass-rushers in the NFL are just Von Miller and guys that have had the pleasure of lining up against Menelik Watson.

Here is why everyone is going to be happy with Siemian on Monday. Here are the QB Ratings of NFL quarterbacks when targeting these Oakland corners: T.J. Carrie: 95.1 (17 targets), Sean Smith 130.6 (6), Gareon Conley 95.8 (5) David Amerson 133.8 (17).

Not knowing whether Denver is going to have Jamaal Charles run pass routes on an increased snap count or if Denver's going to test the reception waters with C.J. Anderson, along with the question of whether or not Devontae Booker is going to handle his 3rd down back role will drive the Raiders wonky for a few series.

That coincidentally would be a fine time to pass to some tight ends. See just how bad Mack's bookend Bruce Irvin is in pass-coverage.

Ultimately, it comes down to the amount of sack babies Khalil Mack is going to make with Menelik Watson and whether or not Watson can win on the run downs.

When Denver is on defense:

Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall has given up 13 catches on 13 targets this season for 117 yards, 74 after contact. He's allowing a catch every 6.3 snaps and 1.43 yards per coverage snap.

Justin Simmons has been used in run support on 57 snaps this season, Darian Stewart has been used in run support on 58 snaps this season, Simmons has four tackles on those snaps, Stewart has six. Simmons has not missed a tackle in run-support, Stewart has missed one. Five of Stewart's tackles in run-support have been stops at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Simmons has been in pass coverage on 114 of his snaps, Stewart has been in pass coverage on 102 of his snaps. The receiver that Simmons is covering has been targeted six time and Simmons has allowed six catches for 69 yards (25 after contact) and two touchdowns.

Stewart's coverage has been targeted ten time for eight catches for 32 yards, 12 after contact. Simmons is allowing .61 yards on each single pass-coverage, while Stewart is averaging .31 yards on each single pass-coverage.

Because I know that you want to know, T.J. Ward has not started a game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he's participated in two so far this season. He has two pass deflections, three solo tackles and two assists, with five stops at or near a loss. He's played 74 of a possible 132 snaps for the Buccaneers. Ward has a PFF grade of 74.9, Stewart's is a 76.2 while Simmons is a 79.3 in run-defense, but a 39.3 in coverage (six targets, six receptions) so his PFF grade is sitting at 47.8. Will Parks being graded as a safety has a PFF grade of 49.4. Rookie Jamal Carter has only played 14 snaps on defense, seven in coverage. Carter's PFF overall grade is 58.8.

And inside linebacker and safety are where Oakland will attack, unfortunately for the Raiders, Chris Harris covers the slot, so Seth Robertswon't be an option. Putting Harris outside on Amari Cooper opens up the middle, but gives Harris Week 4's most defensively favorable match-up, that seems like points on the board for Denver. And when the Broncos manage points from their defense that's a team win.

Aqib Talib won't shadow Michael Crabtree and Harris should stay in for slot coverage any time Crabtree or Cooper slide inside. This will discourage Crabtree and Cooper from getting their number called at the slot though, so Crabtree and Cooper should stay outside.

Seems straight forward enough. The Redskins were able to wreck Derek Carr's Week 3. He was ruined by targeting Washington safety Montae Nicholson, who used his only target in 32 snaps to pick off the ball. Washington cornerback Kendall Fuller was targeted four times by Carr and he allowed two catches for 17 yards, had an interception and handed Carr a 21.9 QB Rating when targeting Fuller's receiver. Washington had four team sacks, six tackles for losses, two interceptions, six pass defenses, one forced fumble and one fumble recover. That's with Washington's offense losing two fumbles.

Denver's defense (and Oakland's offense) won't be the issue in this game if Roby is able to keep Cooper within his average reception rate against Denver (7.1 average receptions versus the Broncos in seven games).

Carr has faced the Broncos five times. In those five games Carr has 106 completions on 182 passes for 918 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions, a QB Rating of 73.5 and he has been sacked 12 times for a loss of 93 yards. He has only won twice against the Broncos in his career and one of those wins was in Denver.