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Oakland Raiders need to lean on Marshawn Lynch vs Broncos

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After not using running back Marshawn Lynch much the last couple of games, this week is a good time for the Oakland Raiders to start.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It was a big deal when the Raiders acquired running back Marshawn Lynch this offseason. If for no other reason than he makes them a much more physical team.

In 2016, they were known more for quarterback Derek Carr and their aerial circus. It was exciting with all the points scored but shootouts are games anyone can win. And the Raiders inability to run the clock out at the end of games helped cost them their starting QB to a broken fibula in Week 16. Then on opening day of this year, the Raiders showed they can be different.

They bullied the Tennessee Titans — a physical team themselves — with Lynch setting the tone. He ran for 76 yards on 18 carries including mowing down 305-pound Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. Just as important, he ran the clock out once the Raiders got the lead.

In Week 2, the Raiders didn’t need Lynch as much in a 45-20 blowout of the New York Jets. Though he was given the ball near the goal line to score his first touchdown as a Raider.

Then in Week 3, the Raiders did the inexcusable, giving Lynch just six carries. Yeah, they did that with the most physical offensive line and RB in football.

This week, the Raiders need to run the ball right at the Broncos.

It all starts with Lynch. That becomes especially true with wide receiver Michael Crabtree not expected to play and Amari Cooper having an erratic season thus far.

Denver has the NFL’s best run defense right now but the Raiders match up well with them up front. The Broncos have been playing against zone-running teams so far this year. They haven’t seen the kind of size and physicality of the Raiders yet.

A strong running game featuring Beast Mode would neutralize edge rusher Von Miller. From there, offensive coordinator Todd Downing can him dial up waggles to get Carr, who isn’t doing too well under pressure in the pocket right now, out of the pocket.

So far, it has looked like the Raiders are trying to keep Lynch fresh for the postseason. They might not get there with that strategy. It’s time to flex their muscles and feed Beast Mode.