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Raiders-Broncos: The Key Matchups

More than any other rivals the Raiders have it seems that in the Broncos-Raiders showdowns that conventional wisdom can get thrown out the window. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t tell which matchups are going to determine the winner of this game.

Broncos Running Game vs. Raiders Rush Defense

The Broncos have struggled running the ball this year and the Raiders have struggled stopping the run. The Raiders defense is ranked 31st in the NFL by allowing five yards per carry.

The Broncos offense is last in the league in yards gained per carry at 2.7. This is truly a case of something has to give. Last week the Broncos run game showed its first signs of life. They managed to get 145 yards on 37 carries against the always tough Jets defense.

Broncos Rush Defense vs Raiders Rush Offense

The Broncos are currently sitting 25th in the league by allowing 4.4 yards per carry. The Raiders will look to exploit this. The Raiders may finally have a fully healthy rushing attack and come into the game 14th in the league averaging 4.2 yards per carry.

The Raiders could never get the running game untracked last week and Tom Cable attributed a large part of this to his offensive lineman playing too high. Look for this group to prove themselves in the run game again and also be bolstered by the dual threat nature of a healthy running back tandem.

Of course, with the pitiful performance put on by the Raiders passing offense last week, the Broncos will likely stack the box and make the Raiders prove they can beat them over the top. Which leads to what should be the key matchup of this game.

Broncos Pass Defense vs Raiders Pass Offense

The Broncos secondary is banged up and it is currently allowing 6.7 yards per pass attempt. This is good for a 25th ranking.

The Raiders are coming into this game off of a dismal passing performance. Their starting QB is going to be a game time decision. Jason Campbell suffered through the worst start of his career and whoever the Raiders QB is the pressure will be on them to reverse the fortunes of this team.

On the year, the Raiders are averaging 5.2 yards per pass attempt which is good for 28th in the league.

What may help the Raiders passing game in this contest is the Broncos total lack of a pass rush. They have generated only seven sacks on the season.