If pass defense is the No. 1 key to the Raiders beating the Broncos then the Raiders' rushing attack is No. 1a. For this offense to click the run game has to lead the way. While the passing game has looked improved in the preseason, Jason Campbell is going to be far more effective if he can pick on a defense geared for the run.
The Broncos have a much improved pass rush. The Raiders can't let them pin their ears back and set their sights on Campbell.
The Raiders have to get the ground game going, and they have the horses to do it. Samson Satele, Stefen Wisniewski and Cooper Carlisle are going against a soft Broncos interior defensive line. They need to own these matchups and wear the Broncos out from the inside out. Jump over for more....
Darren McFadden is making his 2011 debut. He missed all of the preseason, but I fully expect him to come in this game ready to dominate. If the line opens up holes for him, he is going to get big yards. The Broncos have a solid linebacking corp, but McFadden should be able to destroy these guys in space.
Joe Mays is a solid MLB, and he tackles well, but he is far too stiff to handle McFadden in space. With DJ Williams out the Broncos are forced to start Wesley Woodyard on the weakside. Woodyard is quick, but he should be easily blocked. He is also going to have a hard time taking down DMC or Bush one-on-one.
Von Miller will be manning the strongside. Miller is a freak of an athlete, but he was brought in Miller to rush the passer. He was a rush linebacker in a 3-4 in college. The Raiders should not shy away from running right at him. He is going to have a hard time handling the Raiders running backs.
On paper, the Raiders should dominate this matchup. This is the perfect opportunity to get of to a bullying start. They need to wear them down in the first half and pop for big runs in the second half.