“Our focus is on trying to win a football game and really our focus is on us,” Allen said on Tuesday during a conference call with the Denver media. “I know they had their own goals and aspirations, but our focus really is on trying to do everything that we can to try to win the football game and not really worry about any of the other auxiliary things that come along with that.”
When the teams last met in Week 3, a 37-21 Broncos victory on Monday Night Football at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Raiders were led by quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s 281 passing yards and 36 rushing yards – making a second-half push after trailing 27-7 at halftime of that game.
An entire season of ups-and-downs has transpired since that game for Pryor and the Raiders, but after being sidelined by an injury in Week 10 and sitting behind quarterback Matt McGloin, Pryor will again assume the starting quarterback duties against the Broncos.
“Obviously he’s excited, I’m excited, we’re all excited about giving him another opportunity and seeing what he can do going out there against Denver,” Allen said. “He made some pretty good plays the last time we played those guys. I think he’s excited about it and I think we’re all excited about watching him play.”
And for Pryor, it also means another duel against his orange and blue counterpart, Broncos quarterback
Manning, who set the NFL single-season passing touchdown record in Denver’s 37-13 win over Houston last Sunday by throwing his 51st touchdown pass of the season, completed 32-of-37 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting between the teams. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for that performance.
In preparing for the rematch, Raiders linebacker Kevin Burnett noted that Manning and the Broncos offense leave a very slim margin of error for opposing defenses.
“It’s a very good football team, a team that can score from anywhere on the field,” Burnett said. “They’re a very well-coached football team, they’re not going to make many mistakes and they’re going to take what you give them. They’re not going to press, they’re not going to panic, but when you make a mistake they’re going to take advantage of it.”
The Broncos have had an NFL-record five different players – wide receiver
Defending such widespread potency on offense, Burnett noted, will require a Raiders defense that ranks 26th in the league against the pass to neutralize specific targets on each play that the Broncos run.
“Each and every play you have to pick and choose who you’re going to take away,” Burnett said. “They have a lot of offensive weapons and you have to really understand what they’re trying to do to you because each play is designed for a different guy to get the ball so we have to rely on our film study, rely on our coaches and when we have the opportunity to make plays we have to make them.”
Ultimately, limiting the Broncos rushing attack – Denver ran for 164 yards in the Week 3 meeting between the teams – and being opportunistic on defense are points of emphasis that Allen noted will be crucial to slowing the Broncos offense.
“One of things that we have to do better is we got to do a better job defending the run and being able to take the run game away from them,” Allen said. “Peyton is going to throw the ball and he’s going to have some success doing that. You can’t let him be two-dimensional. We got to do a good job against and the run and we got to take advantage of the opportunities when we have opportunities to make plays against him.”