Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders
- QuarterbackThe Broncos announced this week that they will be turning the reins over to 2016 first round pick Paxton Lynch. Lynch started a pair of games last season and largely struggled. He's battled injuries this year, but the Broncos hope that now, fully healthy, he can begin to show the promise that they saw when they drafted him 26th overall in 2015.The Raiders were thoroughly trounced by the Patriots in Mexico City, but head coach Jack Del Rio must make sure that his players are looking ahead and not backwards. They still have a chance in the AFC West as the Chiefs are slumping, and Derek Carr is capable of putting big numbers on the board. If Carr can get off to a good start, the Broncos don’t appear to have the ability to rebound.
- OffenseThe Broncos have to establish their running game, and the combination of C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles have the speed to break long plays if the offensive line can open a few decent holes. Demaryius Thomas has the size and strength to make big plays against the Oakland secondary, while Emmanuel Sanders is one of Osweiler’s favorite targets.The Raiders appear to have made a big mistake by trusting Marshawn Lynch to serve as their primary running back. Lynch plays with effort and wants to get it done, but he has slowed by more than a step and that has hurt the Oakland offense. Wideout Michael Crabtree has six TD receptions and is having a big year, while TE Jared Cook has stepped up and has caught 41-535-1.
- DefenseThe defense that dominated the NFL just a couple of years ago is still good, but it can’t win games on its own. The Broncos rank third in yards allowed, and they are led by OLB Brandon Marshall, who has a team-high 69 tackles. Pass-rush specialist Von Miller has a team-leading 8.0 sacks but does not seem as unstoppable as he was in 2015.The Raiders have not gotten the job done on defense this season, and that has to be a huge disappointment to Del Rio when he looks up and sees that his team ranks 26th in yards allowed. Much of this has to fall on LB Khalil Mack who should be the best player on the defense but has just 5.5 sacks. The Raiders have not registered one interception this season.
- Special TeamsThe Broncos have been miserable on special teams this season, and while that’s not the only reason for their losing streak, it has not helped. They have given up both a punt and a kickoff return, while PK Brandon McManus has missed six FG attempts.The Raiders know they have a punter who can flip field position in Marquette King, who is averaging 50.0 yards per punt. He has also dropped 18 of his 40 punts inside the 20. Giorgio Tavechio has made 12-of-14 FG attempts and has been solid in taking over for injured Sebastian Janikowski.
The Broncos can be competitive, but don’t expect them to play come-from-behind football. They need to stay within seven points if they are going to have a chance.