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Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Keys to the Game: Passing Defense

It is foolish to determine your expectations for the season on the opening game. I am going to base my expectations on the season on the Raiders opening game with the Broncos.

The Raiders were garbage in the preseason. I need to see that they have more game then what they have shown. They have some key starters returning, and they need to prove to me they can make an impact. If I do see all of this, my hopes will be resting on the division title. If they don't, .500 may be wishful thinking.

Let's get to the first key to a Raider victory...after the jump.....

Pass Defense

The Raiders pass defense has to be way better than what they've show if they want to keep the Broncos under 40 in this one. I fully expect Kyle Orton to come out gunning as they pass to set up the run.

Orton had a solid preseason. He was 28/42 for 408 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He also got better as preseason advanced.

Chances are he will find some open receivers in this one.

Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal are a solid receiving duo. They also have Eric Decker for three WRs sets. If I was the Broncos, I'd spend a lot of time in this set. Michael Huff is currently the Raiders nickel corner. Huff has a hard time staying with receiver in man-to-man coverage.

Even though I have little faith in Huff in coverage, that is not the scariest part of the Raiders nickel equation. That comes from Huff's replacement in the free safety spot. My guess is it will be Jerome Boyd. Boyd is good until he has to tackle someone or break up a pass.

It will be nice to have Chris Johnson back. Let's hope he is ready to go. I still have visions in my head of him getting toasted by the Seahawks Golden Tate when he came back from injury for the fourth preseason game in 2010. He needs to be better than that.

Of course, the Raiders best weapon to combat the Broncos passing attack is their defensive line. The D-Line needs to dominate this one. They can not allow Orton to get comfortable in the pocket. The D-Line is the heart of this team. They need to show that they are ready to carry this defense.