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NFL Schedule Week 15, Broncos-Raiders: Matchups to Watch

The Raiders are looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss and keep themselves in the thick of the race for the Division title. They are going to try and do this at home against a Broncos team they already beat by 45 points. Despite that dominance, they are still going to have to win the matchups. Here are the ones to watch.

Raiders’ Rush Offense vs Broncos’ Rush Defense

In the Week 7 meeting of these two teams the Raiders had 52 carries for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns. Needless to say, if they get close to those numbers again, this game is going to be a blowout. There is nothing to suggest they won’t be able to achieve a similar kind of output. The Broncos run D has struggled all year and they aren’t getting any better. Pick any stat you like and Denver’s rush defense is going to be near the bottom of the league.

Broncos’ Rush Offense vs Raiders’ Rush Defense

The Broncos pass offense started off on a near record breaking pace. They have appeared to have hit the wall, however. This has forced a re-commitment to the running game. While it isn’t producing in wins or points, they are putting up decent numbers. With the news that Tim Tebow is likely going to start, it is going to put that much more emphasis on the run game. If the Broncos are going to upset the Raiders, they are going to do it by wearing down the defense and hitting for big runs.

The Raiders continue to be stout at the point of attack on run defense, but still vulnerable to big runs. While they are near the bottom in yards allowed, they are actually 13th in run DVOA. Teams choose to attack the Raiders on the ground and the Raiders have faced some of the better running games this year.

The Raiders will be looking to bottle up Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has run into a bit of a second half resurgence. Over the last five games Moreno is averaging 92.4 yards on 5.2 per carry.

Tim Tebow vs. The World

Well, it looks like the man, the myth, the legend will get his first NFL start. It is not exactly ideal circumstances for Tebow. He will be facing the leagues best pass rushing defense, he is on the road and it is probably going to be raining. Chances are, if Tebow is going to make an impact in this game it is going to be with his feet.

The Raiders play lots of man-to-man defense. While this means tighter coverage on the receivers during scrambles than a zone, it leaves them susceptible to QB Scrambles. This is the defense that made Ben Roethlisberger look like Michael Vick earlier in the season.

On the year, the Raiders pass defense has been more vulnerable to quick crossing patterns and deep passes. Neither of which seem to fall into Tebow’s wheelhouse. Look for the Raiders to crowd the line and force Tebow and the Broncos to try and beat them deep.