Tonight Monday Night Football features the 17th match-up between division rivals Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. The Broncos lead the series 8-7-1, while the Raiders have a better all-time match up 59-44-2. Tonight the Raiders No. 1 ranked rushing offense will face the Broncos No. 1 ranked rushing defense. The game pits Denver’s veteran future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning against Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor making his fourth career start as quarterback.
Last season the Broncos went 6-0 against the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers. If the Broncos want to extend their AFC West winning streak to seven tonight, they are going to need Chris Clark to step up and protect Peyton Manning’s blind side. Clark is replacing All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady, who is out the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury. As a result, the Broncos offense will need to emphasize the run rather than its passing game. Last week against the New York Giants, Knowshon Moreno stepped it up by rushing the ball 13 times for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns. To be successful, the Denver defense must continue dominating. In the first two games, the Broncos have caused six interceptions and three fumbles.
For the Raiders to win, their defense needs to take advantage of Clady’s absence and put pressure on Manning. Oakland’s defense has led the NFL in sacks, with nine in the first two games. To be successful, the Raiders’ running game led by running back Darren McFadden and scrambling quarterback Terrelle Pryor must continue to dominate. McFadden rushed 129 yards on 19 carries last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pryor ran the ball 22 times for 162 yards in his first two games. The Raiders have a bit of an advantage in Coach Allen, who was the Broncos defensive coordinator in 2011.
If the Broncos can score early and stop the Raiders running game forcing Pryor to pass, Denver will win.
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