Oakland Raiders: Week-4 vs Denver Broncos
Jerry Rump – Sep 29, 2012
Uh oh, looks like a storm cloud is beginning to gather to the west of Colorado and is barreling east towards Denver at breakneck speed. It has rolling thunder and pouring rain, white lightning continuously flashes across the sky and the Autumn Wind is coming on like a hurricane. Lookout mile high residents, the Oakland Raiders are coming to town!
Can you hear the bells as they begin to toll? I definitely sense an Angus Young solo preparing to blast the atmosphere surrounding 1701 Bryant ST. in downtown Denver, how about you Raider nation?
After a pivotal win last Sunday versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Oakland Raiders travel to the mile-high city this week to take on their hated division rival, Denver Broncos, in a key AFC West matchup.
Any game in Denver usually means you can throw out the records, set aside all other pressing business, buckle up your chin straps and prepare for this game to be a 60 minute war. Oh, and just to make it even more interesting this year, there’s that Peyton Manning fellow to deal with.
Yippy Kay Yay!
The Raiders come into this game having won their last four meetings at Sports Authority Field, kind of making it their official home out on the range as it were.
Leading the way in accomplishing this feat is Raiders’ RB, Darren McFadden, who has posted his career best numbers versus the Broncos as he has gashed them with 508 yards and three touchdowns in the previous matchups in Denver.
The hype for this game normally needs no extra incentives however, this year brings a few twists and turns that have to be mentioned.
First, is the fact that the Raiders’ new head coach, Dennis Allen, actually came over to the darkside after serving as the Broncos defensive coordinator in 2011. It was a controversial, yet brilliant, move by Raiders GM, Reggie McKenzie, when he went out earlier this year and snatched up Allen during the Broncos courtship of Peyton Manning. Nothing like taking advantage of an opponent when they are wooing their supposed franchise saving superstar, touché Mr. Elway!
Ironically, both teams are sitting at 1-2 with their lone victories both coming against the Steelers. The difference being that Oakland is on a huge upswing following their win last week while the Broncos are feeling the sting of dropping their last two games versus the Falcons and Texans.
The Raiders must get off early and often in this game to keep the Broncos from gaining any confidence and once again, this pivotal matchup will need to be a ground and pound type of game in order to keep number 18 off of the field. Look for the Raiders to take some risks and blitz Manning to get him off his mark and force a turnover or two along with plenty of three and outs.
While we saw improvements last week in Gregg Knapp’s scheme, his play-calling has yet to really give Raider nation the type of confidence in the run game that has had this team continually amongst the league’s leaders for the last few seasons.
I truly hope he has something special in store for the Broncos this week because they will definitely be scheming to eliminate the run-game from Oakland’s offense in order to make them one dimensional and vulnerable to the blitz.
With Raiders’ wide receiver, Darrius Heyward-Bey, out this week with the neck injury and concussion he suffered last week, thanks to an illegal hit by Steelers safety, Ryan Mundy, it is now imperative that Carson Palmer and Denarius Moore get on track and have a breakout game.
Palmer is amongst the league leaders in passing at this point in the season and coming off perhaps his best game as a Raider last week, it is essential that he keep up the good play while continuing to make the smart decisions at the line of scrimmage that defined his performance in last week’s big victory.
Raiders TE, Brandon Myers, must also be mentioned in this conversation because his play is a big reason for this success and he will, yet again, play a key role in the game Sunday. Myers’ ability to open up the middle of the field for Palmer will force Denver into taking some risks in their coverage schemes that very well could lead to something else the Raiders have lacked in their aerial attack to this point in the season, the deep pass.
The offensive line for the Raiders has played well up to this point, but will surely be tested from the edges this week. Denver’s outside linebackers, Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller, provide one of the best edge rushing duos in all of pro football and the Raiders’ O- line must step up and keep the pocket secure in order for Palmer to make the Broncos fall to 1-3.
On defense, the Raiders are very vulnerable with both their starting cornerbacks out of the game with injuries and it should not take the Broncos long to try to exploit this matchup.
The mad chemist, Jason Tarver, will have to pull out all the stops in this game and cook up a defensive game plan worthy of the Priestly medal in order to shut-down what is sure to be a relentless barrage of adjustments, changed play calls, and hurry up offenses that the Broncos are most certainly guaranteed to throw at the Raiders defense. (fyi-the Priestly award is the nation’s highest award in chemistry)
Now for perhaps the biggest advantage that the Broncos will have against the Raiders this weekend. They just returned to work this week, and no doubt, will be itching to throw their little yellow hankies on anything and everything that the Silver and Black attempt to do Sunday afternoon.
Of course, I am talking about the regular referees that everyone, except real Raider fans, is heralding as the saviors of the game upon their return from the lockout that gave us replacement refs and the “inaccurate reception” this past Monday night.
Now while I too was upset over the ridiculous non-calls and mysteriously-called fouls that everyone in the league had to endure, I really did not want Peyton’s buddies back for this weekend’s matchup.
Say what you will about the replacement refs, but one thing they were doing right is that they allowed opposing defenses to actually touch the poster boy of Roger Goodell’s flag football league. It was fun seeing him actually get dirty and not be able to cry his way into getting a penalty called.
But of course, that is all gone now as his old chums have returned and given him the magical ability to miraculously never get dirt on his uniform while simultaneously drawing flags for roughing the passer. Not to mention, how he manages to convince them every time he misses a receiver that somehow there was pass interference or illegal contact that caused this phenomenon.
Oh well, it’s just back to the way it always is and Raider nation for one should be well used to it as overcoming the officials as well as the Broncos boils down to just a regular day at the office for the Raiders.
So be prepared to see the reuniting of these long lost comrades and at least for this game, expect a high number of penalties to be called against Oakland. No matter if they are deserved or not, because Peyton Manning has never failed to get their calls and in fact, he probably has his boys some brand new custom made Isotoner gloves to keep their little fingers nice and loose in between penalty calls. Do they still make Isotoners? Nevermind, you get the point!
No matter because the Raiders will fight to come out on top at the end of the game and no-one will be able to say for one second that they didn’t earn it. Few teams can go into Denver and beat Manning and the Broncos, but only one team can beat Manning, the Broncos, and the referees!
That team is your Oakland Raiders and expectations should be high as they prepare to renew this terrific rivalry.
Let’s put these ponies out to pasture and prepare for some grilled bronco burgers come Sunday night Raider nation!
Do not try to tell me you do not eat horse meat?
It has been on the menu at Mickey D’s for years!
Happy trails and….
Just Win Baby!
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