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Week 2 Prediction Article: Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos

Good morning, Bronco fans!  It is week 2 in the NFL as the Oakland Raiders come into town to take on our Denver Broncos.  Oakland (0-1) is coming off an embarrassing week 1 loss at the hands of the L.A. Rams by a score of 33-10.  The Raiders went into halftime with a 13-10 lead, then allowed 23 unanswered points in the second half.  Oakland QB Derek Carr completed 72% of his passes, however, he did not throw a touchdown and threw 3 interceptions.  The star of the game was TE Jared Cook, who raked in 9 catches for 180 yards.

Denver (1-0) comes into week 2 with their 2nd consecutive home game and will look to remain undefeated in this young season.  QB Case Keenum’s Bronco debut was a bit of a roller coaster ride.  The interceptions reminded us all of last year, but precision strikes in other times in the game gave us a glimpse of what our offense is capable of doing.  Keenum, who threw 3 interceptions, also connected on 3 touchdown passes and threw for over 300 yards.  Rookie RBs Phillip Lindsay and Royce  Freeman both saw success in their NFL debuts as both runners gained 71 yards on 15 rushing attempts.  Lindsay was also involved in the passing game as he reeled in 2 catches for 31 yards including an impressive 29 yard touchdown as he simply blew by everyone down the sideline.  WR Emmanuel Sanders found pay dirt for the first time in a long time, having a very impressive game with 135 receiving yards on 10 receptions.

The Denver defense gave fans a lot of reasons to be excited and optimistic about this season, as they were the biggest impact on the outcome of the game last week against Seattle.  LB Von Miller is already making his case for Defensive Player of The Year as he annihilated the Seattle offensive line all game long.  Miller’s stat line was simply ridiculous; 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovered.  The Broncos defense got to QB Russell Wilson early and often as they racked up 6 sacks against the elusive Wilson.  Newly acquired CB Adam “Pac-Man” Jones proved that he can still help teams win on defense and special teams.

Keys to Victory

  1. Contain the Tight End.  Seattle TE Will Dissly only caught three passes, but he did damage when he had the ball in his hands.  He gained 105 receiving yards including 66 yard touchdown reception where he made the Broncos defense look bush league, and it was his first NFL game.  Oakland’s TE is more dangerous and I would expect Derek Carr to look for Jared Cook all game long.  The middle linebackers will need to contain Cook and make him pay anytime the ball touches his hands.
  2. I said it last week and until we clean it up, it needs to be a point of emphasis.  Keenum has to protect the football.  It is very hard to win games when you throw 3 interceptions.  Case must avoid throwing interceptions at all costs.
  3. QB Derek Carr has a very quick release.  It will be difficult to sack Carr, so the secondary needs to be on their A game.  Denver DBs need to press the receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the timing of the receiver’s routes.  Linebackers will need to be ready to protect the middle of the field on quick inside slant routes.
  4. Keep feeding the rookie running backs.  Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay need to get involved in the game quickly to establish the running game.  With the various weapons at Keenum’s disposal, the Oakland secondary will need to respect the passing game of the Broncos.  This should open up some holes for the running backs to get through.
  5. Denver must be more efficient on third down than they were a week ago against Seattle.  Denver only converted 4 of 12 3rd down opportunities in Week 1.  If Denver can capitalize on 3rd down and keep Oakland’s defense on the field, it is going to be a long day at Mile High for the Raiders.

The Broncos are off to a decent start and I expect them to continue strong this week.  Being at home is a huge advantage against any opponent and the Raiders look to be in meltdown mode already.  Let’s make a statement this week and carry that momentum into next week’s road match-up  with the Baltimore Ravens.

Final Score Prediction

Oakland Raiders – 17

Denver Broncos – 27

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