After holding Titans running back Derrick Henry to just 53 rushing yards in Week 10, the Broncos' defense will look to continue its success against the run as it faces off against the Raiders and running back Josh Jacobs once again.
In the first meeting between these AFC West rivals back in Week 4, Jacobs had the upper hand against Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero's group. The fourth-year running back rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and it was the only time all year that Denver's defense has allowed 20 or more points.
Inside linebacker Josey Jewell led the Broncos in tackles the first time around, and he will look to limit Jacobs' production in their rematch by using the knowledge the team gained from containing Henry.
"The Titans ran a lot of the stuff that Vegas actually [did] to us just this last game, especially the first time we played them this year," Jewell said Monday. "There's still some small stuff. The 'Counter O' and stuff like that. They love a lot of their gap schemes with the Raiders, with Jacobs. They also like the 'Lead,' and the Titans did run that a couple of times. They put their tight end back there as a fullback. We got to see a couple of different things that the Raiders [enjoyed doing] last time and we got pretty close to perfecting. We just have to go back and look at the film to see those 'Counter O's,' see those different gap schemes that they ran and understand our fits. ... One thing we need to perfect more is our fits. Just being perfect on those, whether you are outside leverage on the tight end or inside leverage if you are C-gap or you are B-gap. They ran a couple of [the] same things, but still a couple things that Vegas runs that are different."
As dominant as the Broncos' defense has been, Jewell noted that there are still several areas in which the group can improve.
"We still have some small fit issues every once in a while, whether that'd be communication or not," Jewell said. "Our communication has been pretty great so far, but the fit issues, or maybe an adjustment off of a certain coverage that we needed to make. Small things like that, that then we can communicate from the back end to the linebackers or us to them. Then gap integrity stuff. Just being able to play our blocks and be able to beat those one-on-ones and make sure we're always on the advantageous side."
Below the Fold
While he may not boast the same flashy stats as other cornerbacks, Pat Surtain II continues to add to his resume for Defensive Player of the Year.
Per Pro Football Focus, Surtain has allowed just four receptions for 18 yards while in coverage since Week 6. He has locked down opposing wide receivers all season, and the second-year defensive back will get another great test as he faces Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams on Sunday.
In their last meeting, Surtain covered Adams on 71 percent of the wide receiver's routes and limited him to just four receptions for 46 yards. Adams is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns, and it will be an excellent rematch as he faces a cornerback who has not allowed one yet this season.