A week after suffering their first loss on Sunday Night Football to the Washington Redskins, head coach Jack Del Rio will lead his team into Denver to take on AFC West rival Broncos.
Quarterback Derek Carr had his worst game of the season against the Redskins defense, completing just 19-of-31 passes for just 118 yards and one touchdown. Carr also struggled keeping control of the ball, throwing two interceptions costing the Raiders even more.
The Raiders offensive line didn’t help Carr, allowing three sacks against Ryan Kerrigan and the Redskins defense.
Things won’t get any easier for the Raiders offense as they hope to get back on track by taking on one of the league’s best defenses. Left tackle Donald Penn will have to keep All Pro pass rusher Von Miller away from Carr. Miller leads the Broncos with three sacks already on the year.
The Broncos ‘no-fly’ defense is off to another solid start by allowing just 263 yards in the air per game, good enough for fourth in the league. But the defense has also largely improved in its rush defense, allowing just 57 yards per game (best in the league). Getting Marshawn Lynch going is crucial to the Raiders offense, something they were unable to do last week when he finished with just six carries for 18 yards.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper also needs to have a bounce-back game after struggling to find any separation from the Redskins defenders last week, finishing with just one reception for six yards. The third-year receiver has struggled with drops this season, leading the league with six already. Going up against Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Talib will be a tough task, but he will need to find separation to give Carr room to throw the ball.
With the Raiders offense struggling last week, the defense was left on the field for 38 minutes. Ken Norton, Jr.’s squad will hope to get back on track after allowing 472 total yards.
Denver’s former seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian is completing over 60 percent of his attempts for 709 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. His six touchdowns through the first three weeks are tied for fourth in the NFL.
Siemian’s top targets are wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who have recorded 236 yards on 17 catches and 163 yards on 16 receptions, respectively. Raiders cornerbacks David Amerson and Sean Smith struggled last week, and will once again be tested by the Broncos receivers.
On the ground, the Broncos feature Bay Area native and Cal alum C.J. Anderson after he returns from last year’s season-ending injury. Anderson has just 235 yards on the ground this year thus far, but is also a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. Karl Joseph and the Raiders safeties and linebackers need to keep an eye on the Broncos running backs as they’re a key piece to the offense and Siemian’s passing game.
The Raiders return home next week as they host the Baltimore Ravens.