5 Matchups the Oakland Raiders Must Win to Stop Denver

The Oakland Raiders built a little momentum with better-than-expected performances in the first two weeks of the season. Monday night’s game in Denver will likely offer a more accurate assessment of where second-year coach Dennis Allen’s team stands.

The Broncos own the most prolific offense in the NFL behind quarterback and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. The 37-year-old Manning has put up ridiculous numbers this season while guiding an offense that has already scored 90 points in only eight quarters.

The matchup with Manning offers an interesting clash in styles between the Denver quarterback and the Raiders defense.

Oakland has built most of its early success largely around the play of its defense, which leads the NFL in sacks and is tied for third-fewest points allowed. Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has had to be creative with his blitz packages to make up for an interior defense built largely to stop the run.

Manning, who is in his 16th season, historically has feasted on defenses that blitz. In the two games against Oakland in 2012, Manning completed 56 of 74 attempts (75.7 percent) for 648 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

The Raiders, who will be without injured starting safety Tyvon Branch, also have to contend with the Broncos resurgent running game, not to mention playing in the high Colorado altitude and on Monday night, no less.

Here are a few other matchups to keep in mind for the game in Denver.


DE Lamarr Houston vs. LT Chris Clark

Houston has been Oakland’s most consistent and effective defensive lineman in just about every facet.

He had eight hurries against Jacksonville in Week 2 and has adjusted well to playing on the right side after spending his first three years mostly on the left side. Part of the adjustment has been playing upright rather than with his hands on the ground. Th...

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