Regular Season Week 15
Where: Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
When: 1:05 p.m. PDT
2009 Records: Raiders (4-9) Broncos (8-5)
History: The Raiders lead the all-time series 55-41-2
SB Nation Raiders vs Broncos Preview here.
ANYBODY BUT JAMARCUS...That has been the rallying cry from Raiders fans everywhere and those cries were answered when head coach Tom Cable installed Charlie Frye as the week 15 starter against the Broncos in Denver.
"As the coach I want to do what I think is best for this team, and that's Charlie Frye," coach Tom Cable said. "It gives us the best opportunity to win. You watch Charlie every day and his preparation, he just certainly deserves the opportunity."
With previous starter Bruce Gradkowski out indefinitely, the Raiders this week signed former Buffalo starter J.P. Losman as the behest of his UFL head coach Jim Fassell, giving the Raiders a choice of 3 healthy QB's today's game. Obviously, the Raiders as well as the rest of the Nation, have seen all they wanted to see of JaMarcus Russell and I imagine that Losman will get his chance in one of the last two games.
Last week the Raiders lost at home to the Washington Redskins following their big upset win against the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week. That marked the 4th time this season that the Raiders failed to take the momentum from an inspiring win the previous week and succeed at the second part of "back-to-back". Sunday, the get to start the first part again taking on their arch-rivals in Denver, hoping to also put a ding in the Broncos wild card aspirations. With Russell at the helm, the Broncos easily defeated the Raiders in Oakland in a week 3 meeting 23-3, in a game that was over before half time.
The Raiders have a chance to do something they haven't done since 2004 – win consecutive road games. But in order to do so, it is going to need a strong performance from Charlie Frye. Oakland is Frye’s third team in the last three seasons, and he has not thrown a pass in a regular season game since October 12th, 2008 when playing for Seattle. While the Raiders would like to rely on the run,the Broncos weren't born yesterday. Denver will most certainly be stacking the box to make Frye beat them through the air, and he’ll have to be up to the challenge. With that being said, Frye will have to be on his toes from the onset. It’s been a while since Frye has played at game speed and he will be staring down the barrel of a shotgun Sunday when NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil takes dead aim. Dumervil, and his league-leading 15 sacks, has helped the Broncos boast the league’s second-best pass defense. One of the key match-ups in this game will be Mario Henderson vs Dumervil, who got through Henderson in the first meeting for two sacks while Henderson had big time trouble against speed rusher Brian Orakpo last Sunday giving up 4 sacks. Helping out Henderson this week will be one time right tackle, 6-8, 365 lbs Langston Walker, who will be starting at right guard replacing Chris Morris.
While Frye's specialty is supposed to be his ability to read defenses, involve everyone in the offense and choose the right check downs, he will have to contend with their strong pass rush along with their physical press coverage against the Raiders young receivers. The Broncos have excellent cover corners who excel in press coverage. When the Broncos slide a safety up into the box to take away the run, they will expect their corners to single-cover the Raiders' receivers. They will want to jam the Raiders' receivers to disrupt the timing of Tom Cable's passing game and force into mistakes. Hopefully, for the first time in three weeks, the Raiders (Tom Cable) will find a way to get Michael Bush involved in the game for more than his 0-2 carries per game. Then maybe the Raiders can have a semblance of a running game and take a little pressure off of Frye.
For the Broncos, the star of the show is wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had an NFL record 21 receptions for 200 yards last week versus the Colts. There is where we will find the other key match-up of the day when Nnamdi will be shadowing Marshall throughout the game. Nnamdi may not be able to shut him down for the whole game, but he should certainly be able to severely limit him. Like everybody, Denver will of course try to steadily run the ball at the Raiders still porous run defense. With Correll Buckhalter listed as doubtful with an ankle injury Sunday, rookie running back sensation and NFL rookie rushing leader Knowshon Moreno, who is also dealing with an ankle injury, is going to have to carry the load. Not spectacular, but efficient, Kyle Orton will again be under center for Denver in his attempt to steer the Broncos to victory by managing head coach Josh McDaniels' high-percentage game plan.
Well Raider Nation, is this now the Charlie Frye era? What do you think are the key factors to the Raiders defeating the Broncos? Let's hear your thought on the game. Nothing would be better than putting the damper on the Donkeys playoff hopes and doing it in Denver!