Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders
- QuarterbackPeyton Manning will never admit this, but he would have liked it if the Ravens had beaten the Patriots, because that would have allowed the Broncos to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Manning is coming off a brilliant four-TD game against the Texans in which he set the NFL record when he threw his 51st scoring pass of the season. Manning will almost certainly win the MVP award this year.Matt McGloin has risen from the obscurity of being an undrafted free agent to starting in the NFL. While McGloin still has a long way to go, he has been a solid contributor for the Raiders who throws an accurate pass and is learning to read defenses. McGloin has completed 55.9 percent of his passes and has thrown eight TD passes this year.
- OffenseThe Broncos have a variety of weapons they can use to jump on the Raiders and build an early lead. While Knowshon Moreno is not a star, he is a solid running back who runs hard every time his number gets called. Wide receiver Eric Decker can catch passes over the middle or go downfield. Demaryius Thomas can stretch the defense, while tight end Julius Thomas has caught 12 TD passes.The Raiders certainly are not in a position to trade points with the Broncos. Running back Rashad Jennings has rushed for 724 yards, and the Raiders would like to see him hammer out first downs to keep the Denver offense off the field. Rod Streater is a surprisingly efficient receiver who has caught 55 passes and is averaging 15.4 yards per reception.
- DefenseThe Broncos have given up a lot of yards this season and their defense does not compare with their explosive offense. That defense suffered a huge loss this weekend when linebacker Von Miller suffered a knee injury and will be out for the rest of the season. Linebacker Danny Trevathan has a team-high 123 tackles, while defensive end Shaun Phillip leads the team with 10.0 sacks.The Raiders ranks 18th in yards allowed and after being competitive for much of the season, they have struggled badly since Thanksgiving. That’s not a good thing for a team preparing to play Manning and the Broncos. Middle linebacker Nick Roach leads the team with 106 tackles and he also has 5.5 sacks. Cornerback Tracy Porter has 15 passes defensed and two interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Broncos have had an excellent year on special teams as they have been disciplined in their coverage and Trindon Holliday has returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown. Matt Prater has had a remarkable season, making 23-of-24 FG attempts, including 5-of-6 from 50-plus yards.The Raiders have struggled with their punt coverage, and that could cost them against the Raiders. Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski has not enjoyed his best season. He has made just 21-of-29 FG attempts. Marquette King is averaging a robust 49.1 yards per punt.
The Broncos will take care of business early so they can rest their starters in the second half. There’s very little chance for the Raiders to rise up and challenge Manning and the Broncos. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor