Originally published on SBReport.net on Sept. 28, 2012
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is heading into a familiar place as the Raiders head to Denver to take on the Denver Broncos at Mile High.
Allen served as the Broncos defensive coordinator last season, his only season with the Broncos.
The young coordinator improved the Broncos defense and earned praises from around the NFL as a bright defensive mind.
After only being a defensive coordinator for one year, Raiders new general manager Reggie McKenzie chose Allen to be the 18th head coach in franchise history.
But Allen will be facing a different team than the Broncos team he left.
Denver traded away Tim Tebow and signed a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning.
While there still remains questions about Manning's arm strength, there certainly aren't any questions about his ability to command the offense, especially at the line of scrimmage.
Oakland's defense will need to be on top of their game as Manning is an expert at exploiting a defense's weakness.
With their two starting corners still out with injury, it will be safety Michael Huff and Pat Lee getting the starts again. After giving up 384 yards in the air to Ben Roethlisberger last week, the secondary won't have an easier task with wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.
Decker has appeared to become a favorite of Manning's, but Thomas has big-play capabilities and moves well after the catch.
Luckily Manning is primarily a pocket passer and has difficulty scrambling which should be beneficial to the Raiders defensive line which has struggled to provide any pass rush. The Raiders have recorded just three sacks through three games. McKenzie signed the veteran Andre Carter this week in hopes of gaining support in rushing the passer.
The Broncos have struggled to establish a rushing attack with running back Willis McGahee, averaging just 90.3 yards per game. While the Raiders rushing defense is allowing 116.3 yards per game so far, they will need to maintain gap control and force the Broncos to be one-dimensional.
Quarterback Carson Palmer has quietly been having a solid season so far, even with all the injuries to his starting receivers. After losing Jacoby Ford for the season, Rod Streater was poked in the eye last week and Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off the field and remains out with a neck injury and concussion.
Denarius Moore and Derek Hagan will likely get the start at wide receiver. Hagan has shown good chemistry with Palmer despite being signed after training camp.
Darren McFadden was able to get the running game going last week after averaging just a measly 27 yards per game the first two contests. McFadden has shown his explosiveness to the Broncos during their last three meetings, averaging 144.6 yards per game, including a 150-yard effort in the Raiders season-opening victory against the Broncos last season.
With the numerous injuries to the wide receiving corps, the Raiders may have to rely on their star running back more, in the passing and rushing game.
Out: S Quinton Carter (knee)
Doubtful:G Chris Kuper (forearm)
Questionable:LB Nate Irving (concussion), WR Matt Willis (hamstring)
Probable: CB Chris Harris (ankle), RB Willis McGahee (ribs), CB Tracy Porter (knee), TE Jacob Tamme (groin)
Out: T Khalif Barnes (groin), CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
Doubtful:WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion, neck)
Questionable: RB Mike Goodson (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (concussion), WR Rod Streater (eye, neck)
Probable: TE David Ausberry (shoulder), S Michael Huff (knee), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), DT Tommy Kelly (knee), RB Darren McFadden (shoulder), C Alex Parsons (shoulder), DT Richard Seymour (knee)