On Sunday afternoon, the Las Vegas Raiders will continue their run against divisional opponents by taking on the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium. There are several important matchups to consider when trying to determine a winner, but Derek Carr is likely the key to a Raiders victory. The franchise quarterback bas been quietly having one of his most efficient seasons as a pro. The Raiders will need that efficiency if they want any shot at victory on Sunday. Below are a couple of Las Vegas Raiders versus Denver Broncos key matchups to look for in Sunday’s game.
Las Vegas Raiders vs Denver Broncos Key Matchups
Derek Carr vs. Denver Broncos Defense
Not enough credit is being given to Derek Carr for the job he has done with the offense. Once again, Carr is near the top of the league in quarterback accuracy. He is currently on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards this season. He has also thrown for 16 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Maybe most importantly, Carr has added some situational quarterback scrambles to his arsenal. He might not be the most electric athlete playing quarterback, but he has found a way to scramble for first downs in big-pressure situations. The two biggest areas of concern are his fumbles and the lack of connection with first-round rookie Henry Ruggs. The latter will likely fix itself over time, but hopefully starting this Sunday.
No matter the record of the Denver Broncos, you can always count on them having a ferocious defense. Even with their team being bottom three in turnover differential, their defense has still managed to stay middle-of the-pack in most statistical categories. Their weakness appears to be whatever side of the field A.J. Bouye is playing on. Look for the Raiders to attack him early and often with some deep shots to Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor.
Clelin Ferrell vs. Phillip Lindsay
What is to be made of Clelin Ferrell? The guy oozes leadership and relentlessness, but it sadly does not translate to the stat sheet. Ferrell has yet to record a sack this season, but that is not his bread and butter. Where Ferrell specializes is against the run. He currently sports an impressive 77.7 PFF grade, which can likely be attributed to his dominance in the run game. The Raiders will need Ferrell to keep producing if they hope to contain the underrated rushing attack of the Broncos.
When healthy, Phillip Lindsay has proven to be one of the most efficient running backs in the league. Lindsay currently averages 5.8 yards per carry, which is almost a whole yard higher than his career average. The issue is how fast the Broncos have been falling behind in games; the team is constantly going down by multiple scores early in games. This causes them to abandon the run game, thus minimizing the impact of Lindsay. Surprisingly, the individual most effective at shutting down Lindsay is Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur himself.
When it comes to divisional games, win and loss records can be thrown out the window. That was the case last week with the Los Angeles Chargers and will likely be the occurrence this week as well. The Broncos are a young and careless football team. If the Raiders want to be taken seriously as playoff contenders, they need to win games against opponents like this. A loss on Sunday would make the road to the playoffs extremely difficult for the Raiders. The Broncos season is already over, so all the pressure will be on Las Vegas. Pressure can bust a pipe, or it can make a diamond. Time to find out what the Raiders are made of.
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