Week 4: Oakland Raiders At Denver Broncos
- QuarterbackCarson Palmer has struggled since coming to the Raiders, but he got it together in the Raiders’ Week Three win over the Steelers. He has all the attributes – size, arm strength and a smooth release – but he looked comfortable in an Oakland uniform for the first time.Peyton Manning is finding it quite difficult to find the form that made him one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. His passes appear to lack steam and that may be the result of grip issues. However, he deserves a full shot before anyone writes him off. He still thinks the game better than nearly anyone.
- OffenseThe Raiders will try to run the ball with Darren McFadden as their first option. He exploded for 118 yards against a tough Steeler defense and he can break long plays. Wide receiver Denarius Moore figures to be a key option for Palmer since Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) is questionable after a frightening hit.The Broncos don’t have a lot of explosive weapons, but Demaryius Thomas can break the long one if he gets the ball in stride. However, he does not have dependable hands. Willis McGahee runs with heart and effort, but previous injuries and year of getting hit hard have robbed him of his speed. Eric Decker and tight end Jacob Tamme are dependable.
- DefenseThe Raiders are dependent on Richard Seymour in the middle of the defensive line. He had a sack against the Steelers and he occupies multiple blockers. Linebacker Philip Wheeler is a big hitter who had 10 tackles and forced two fumbles against the Steelers.The Broncos secondary features cornerback Champ Bailey, who remains one of the best cover men in the league. However, the rest of the Denver defensive backs are vulnerable. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil is a notable speed rusher who could cause havoc for Palmer if the Denver crowd gets loud and confuses the Raider offense.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders left the game on the leg of powerful Sebastian Janikowski and he came through with the game-winning 43-yard field goal in overtime once again. Janikowski has the most powerful leg in NFL placekicking history and he has a chance to set a new distance record every time he plays in Denver. Punter Shane Lechler is a Pro Bowl candidate every year.Broncos feel good about Matt Prater, who made 3-of-3 FG attempts against the Texans, including a 53-yarder. Punter Britton Colquitt averaged 47.6 yards per puntagainst Houston and dropped three inside the 20.
The Broncos would seem to have an advantage playing at home, but the edge that Peyton Manning has over Carson Palmer is narrow at quarterback. It hasn’t been easy for Manning in his comeback and the Raiders come in with momentum after beating the Steelers in overtime.