Raiders at Broncos: 4 things to watch

Broncos Stadium at Mile High ahead of the week two clash against Oakland. Credit: Broncos Europe

Jared Cook versus the Broncos linebackers and safeties

During the first half of the Seattle game, rookie TE Will Dissly torched the Broncos for 105 yards on three receptions with a long of 66 yards. The 66-yard reception in particular was difficult to watch, the Broncos missed multiple tackles and it was a real worry the defense’s Achilles heel had come back to bite it again. Following a middling season for the Oakland Raiders, Jared Cook blew on MNF against an LA Rams defense stewarded by former Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Cook took in nine receptions for a total of 180 yards, a huge 20 yards per catch. If the Broncos are to win on Sunday then they can not let Cook repeat this effort. There is hope. After struggling in the first half against Seattle, the defense shut down Dissly in the second half, however, the question is which performance will we get on Sunday.

Will Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay replicate their week 1 success?

The rookie running back duo is generating buzz as one of the most fun and exciting tandems in the league. Freeman and Lindsay both took their 15 carries for 71 yards but Lindsay actually out-touched Freeman adding a 31 receiving yards on two receptions. The duo may be the best part about watching the Broncos right now and are generating buzz on the national stage. The Seattle game shouldn’t have been close, the Broncos outgained the Seahawks on offense by 164 total yards but three interceptions by Case Keenum kept the game close. To win consistently, the Broncos need to protect the ball and can’t have Keenum attempt 39 passes — this is why production from the running back spot will be key.

Broncos secondary versus Amari Cooper

Jon Gruden has repeatedly stated he wants to get Amari Cooper the football, going as far to throw his quarterback under the bus. The thing is Cooper has never had success against the Broncos secondary. The former first-round speedster has only taken in 17 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns in six games. That’s equivalent to three receptions and 26 yards a game: pedestrian. The bigger challenge for the Broncos may come in the form of Martavis Bryant. The former Steeler who torched the Broncos defense for 194 total yards on 11 touches on the road to Super Bowl 50 has had strange offseason, after being traded to the Raiders during the draft for a third-round pick he was subsequently cut by Gruden before the start of the season with rumors circulating about commitment issues and a looming suspension questions were raised whether we’d see Bryant on the football field again. However to the surprise of everyone he resigned with the Raiders after week one and is expected to play this week. Bryant is supremely talented but has never really put it all together, hopefully, he can put it off past Sunday.

Will the Broncos pass rush get the better of a once-vaunted offensive line?

Derek Carr’s fall from grace has been a sharp one. In 2016, he was an MVP candidate in a season in which he led the Raiders to their best record since 2000 before suffering a broken leg in week 16 of the regular season. The Raiders crashed out the playoffs against the Texans that year but they had hope. 2017 saw their hopes dashed crawling to a 6-10 record in one of Carr’s worst seasons to date. Against the Rams in week one, Carr looked as skittish as ever. Enter the Broncos defense. Von Miller had one of the best game of his career in week one: four QB hits, three sacks, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, some would call it a DPOW performance. Von will be matched up against Donald Penn, a premier left tackle whom Chucky has decided should play on the right-hand side. Von will get plenty of opportunities here. On the left-hand side Bradley Chubb will match up against rookie tackle Kolton Miller, the rookie gathered praise after his week one performance but the Rams don’t have an edge rusher to the quality of Von, Chubb, Shane Ray or Shaq Barrett. This will be his welcome to the NFL moment.

Final Prediction:

Raiders 20-30 Broncos

Broncos Europe will be at the game on Sunday night follow us @ BroncosEUR for all the latest. And for all the worst takes follow me @ hatwearer2034

For even more build up to the big game watch Brandon Perna preview the game here

You can watch the Broncos on NFL Game Pass Europe from 21:25 BST on Sunday night.

About Andrew Lewis 23 Articles
Andrew is one of Broncos Europe's contributors from Liverpool, England. As well as providing opinion pieces throughout the season, he can also be found in some of our videos. He doesn't come with subtitles, but probably should.

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