Raiders vs. Broncos: Darren McFadden, Eric Decker key players in AFC West showdown

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Darren McFadden and Eric Decker need to have big games if their respective teams hope to win Sunday's AFC West showdown.

It it still early in the 2012 NFL season, but Week 4's matchup between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders will be a big one. Both teams have stumbled a bit out of the gates, each going 1-2 in their first three games, and starting divisional play with a loss is never a good idea.

Bill Williamson of ESPN's AFC West blog has identified a key player for both teams this week. He believes running back Darren McFadden is the go-to guy for the Raiders:

Oakland Raiders, Darren McFadden, running back: After not making an impact in the rushing game in the first two weeks, the explosive McFadden had 113 yards on 18 carries in the Raiders' win over Pittsburgh. McFadden got 64 of the yards on a touchdown run. The production showed McFadden can succeed in the zone-blocking scheme. Let's see if he can build upon it at Denver on Sunday.

As for the Broncos, Williamson thinks wide receiver Eric Decker is the key man in their offensive unit:

Denver Broncos, Eric Decker, receiver: Decker is averaging 14.2 yards on 17 catches this season. He had his best game with Peyton Manning as his quarterback in Week 3 against Houston as he had eight catches for 136 yards. The pair seems to be building a good chemistry. It will be interesting to see if Decker can keep it up against a depleted Oakland cornerback group.

Kickoff from Mile High Stadium is set for 1:05 p.m. PT on Sunday afternoon.

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