The Oakland Raiders have had a positive start to the season thus far. With a 1-1 record, a dynamic young quarter back, and a rushing offense that ranks second in the NFL at 198.5 yards per game, the positivity is abundant. But, this week’s game against the Denver Broncos figures to be the measuring stick for the silver and black.
Denver has the best rushing defense – through two games – in the NFL, giving up just 40.5 yards per contest, albeit against the league’s 23rd (Baltimore) and 32nd (New York Giants) ranked rushing attacks.
While Oakland has looked impressive at times through the ground game, the teams they have played – Indianapolis and Jacksonville – rank 29th and 31st , respectively, against the run.
Something has to give.
Raiders’ running back Darren McFadden welcomes the challenge, “We’re a run-first team, and we’re not going to change that,” McFadden told csnbayarea.com’s Scott Bair. “It’s all about commitment because our running game takes some work. We hit some short runs and all of a sudden, we break out a couple big ones that can change the game.”
McFadden (36 rushes-177 yards) and quarterback Terrelle Pryor (22 for 162) will have their first big test this week – and if the plan is to keep it on the ground against the Broncos stout run defense, we might soon find out where the Raiders stand in their progress towards relevancy in the AFC.