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Broncos without top defender, top offensive lineman to face Raiders

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The Raiders are heavy underdogs to the Broncos but without two Pro Bowl players, the Broncos might be vulnerable.

Grant Halverson

Peyton Manning makes up for a lot of weak spots on a team. And for the Broncos, he will have to in the coming weeks. He will also have to get the ball out a bit faster than usual because he will be without his All-Pro left tackle for the next few weeks.

Ryan Clady was lost last week to a lis franc foot injury which could have him out at least six weeks. It is a tough blow for the Broncos who were tearing things up the first couple weeks and now must worry about Peyton Manning's blindside.

Taking Clady's spot will be fourth year player, Chris Clark, who two seasons ago was playing tight end. The undrafted free agent will have big shoes to fill and be facing a Raiders pass rush that has racked up nine sacks in their first two games.

Lining up on that blindside will be the Raiders top pass rusher, Lamarr Houston, who has been every bit the dominant force he was expected to be after a breakout season last year. He will be looking to give Manning as little time to pass as humanly possible.

The Raiders lost their left tackle, Jared Veldheer, to a triceps injury prior to the start of the season. In his stead has been Khalif Barnes, who moved over from right tackle. Barnes will have a bit less to worry about as far as pass rush is concerned because the Broncos will also be without their top defender and best pass rusher, Von Miller. The All-Pro linebacker will be out the first six games of the season while he serves a suspension. Now they will be without their top offensive lineman as well.

We'll see if it makes much of a difference. Thus far the Raiders have turned in two very good defensive performances but their offense has not really gotten off the ground. Even a less than stellar day by Peyton Manning could be plenty to get the win. But every little bit helps and the Raiders need all the help they can get.