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2013 Game-by-Game: Week 3

Posted Jun 21, 2013

Notes on the Broncos' Week 3 matchup this season with the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football.

  • WHEN: Monday, Sept. 23; 6:40 p.m. MDT.
  • WHERE: Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
  • TV: ESPN.
  • SERIES RECORD: Raiders lead, 59-44-2 (1-1 in the postseason).
  • JOHN FOX'S RECORD: 4-2.
  • PEYTON MANNING'S RECORD: 5-2.
  • SERIES STREAK: Denver has won the last three games after losing the previous four.
  • LAST TIME IN DENVER: Broncos 37, Raiders 6; Sept. 30, 2012. After consecutive mistake-plagued losses, the Broncos cleaned up their play and pulled away for their most lopsided win over the Raiders since a 44-7 win on Oct. 5, 1962. Denver pulled away by scoring 21 third-quarter points, its highest total since Dec. 23, 2000. (The Broncos matched that tally nine weeks later against Tampa Bay.) The Broncos also became the eighth team to win a game by at least 30 points without a takeaway. But the Broncos didn't emerge unscathed; they lost center J.D. Walton to a fractured ankle in the second quarter. He hasn't played since, and even if he returns at the earliest possible date, he will still have missed nearly 13 months to the injury and subsequent surgeries.

NOTING THE GAME:

  • Death, taxes and a prime-time date with the arch-rival Raiders. The first two are certainties and the third one is close to it. No team has been a more frequent prime-time and Monday night Broncos foe than Oakland. This will be their 10th prime-time game since 1999 and 21st overall. Denver holds an 11-8-1 advantage under the lights against the Raiders.
  • With Carson Palmer traded to Arizona, the Raiders are left with the most inexperienced quarterback corps in the league. Their four passers have combined for just three career starts and 171 regular-season passes thrown. Matt Flynn, the ex-Seahawks quarterback who started a preseason game at Sports Authority Field last August, only threw nine passes in the 2012 regular season after being supplanted by then-rookie Russell Wilson. Flynn and returning backup Terrelle Pryor have wildly dissimilar skill sets, and fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson brings another dimension from his experience running Bobby Petrino's high-octane offense at Arkansas. It will be difficult to get a read on the Raiders' offense until they commit to one of the three and tailor their attack to their starter's strengths. 
  • The Broncos are 15-1 against the Raiders when rushing for at least 140 yards. They hit that mark in the Week 14 win and surpassed it by 25 yards in the Week 4 rout.
  • Even though the Raiders lost long-time punter Shane Lechler to free agency, look for their special teams to be improved. They added former Browns returner Josh Cribbs in free agency. Cribbs isn't the touchdown threat he was earlier in his career  -- he has just one returning touchdown since 2010 after scoring eight times in the previous three seasons. But he's more consistent now; last year he averaged more than 12 yards per punt return and 27 yards per kickoff return for the first time since 2007. An equally important addition is long-time special-teams guru Bobby April, who joined the Raiders as special-teams coordinator after spending the previous three seasons in Philadelphia.
  • Former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen isn't the only familiar face in silver and black. Cornerback Tracy Porter and defensive end Jason Hunter both signed with Oakland this offseason. Moving east from Oakland is Broncos quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp, who was the Raiders' offensive coordinator last year and during the 2007-08 seasons. And of course, this will be the Broncos' first look at Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson since he visited Dove Valley but ultimately decided to return to the Raiders, who drafted him in 1998.
  • The improvement in Denver's defense last year was most evident against the Raiders, whose running back, Darren McFadden, had diced up the Broncos in previous years. From 2008-11, the Raiders had more than 150 yards in seven consecutive games. But the Broncos snapped that streak in a 38-24 win at Oakland on Nov. 6, 2011, and maintained that in the two games in 2012, limiting Oakland to 117 rushing yards in both games combined (56 in Week 4 and 61 in Week 14). 
  • The Broncos' 37-6 romp in Week 4 last year snapped a four-game Raiders winning streak in Denver that dated back to 2008 and represented their longest winning streak in Denver since 1974-77.
  • The Raiders have won as many games in Denver since 2008 as they did from 1992-2007, when they went 4-12 at Mile High Stadium and then-INVESCO Field.