PFF Preview: Broncos @ Raiders, Week 10

John Kosko previews this Week 10 game in which Denver travels to Oakland to take on the Raiders as the AFC West's first-place team takes on its last-place team.

| 3 years ago

PFF Preview: Broncos @ Raiders, Week 10

2014-Prev-WK10-DEN@OAKThe Denver Broncos (6-2) travel to the Coliseum in Oakland, CA for a divisional matchup against the Oakland Raiders (0-8). This is the second of three straight road games for the defending AFC Champions while this the first of three straight AFC West opponents for the Raiders.

A lot of things haven’t gone right for the Raiders this year. A few plays bounce their way and they could be sitting at 4-4, but alas, 2014 hasn’t been friendly. One bright light for the Raiders has been rookie first-round pick OLB Khalil Mack. While Mack was drafted in hopes of disrupting opposing QBs, he has actually flourished as a run defender. Mack has been a force in that regard, grading as PFF’s No. 1 3-4 OLB vs the run, and by a large margin. He grades at +19.1 while the next closest, Justin Houston, grades at +7.3. Mack’s Run Stop Percentage is tops in the league at 11.6 with 28 stops on 242 snaps, more than double a group of players tied at second with 13. While the Raiders aren’t seeing the pass-rushing force they were hoping for in terms of sacks (at least not yet), they certainly found a beast at stopping the run.

The player with the task of limiting Mack will be Broncos’ LT Ryan Clady. Clady missed most of 2013 due to injury and has been rusty in 2014. Week 9 vs. New England saw Clady give up just his first sack of the season, but his struggles this year have been against the run. He is grading at -6.7 in run blocking and +1.2 in pass blocking. Things might be trending up for Bronco tackle, though — in the past two weeks, Clady has posted a +1.1 in run blocking, his only two games grading positive in that category. A look at 2012 shows that Clady was average in run blocking (+2.5) and borderline elite in pass blocking (+18.1).

Winning this matchup in both the run game and pass game will be the key to success in each area of the game.

Three things to watch for:

Denver Broncos

Aqib Talib – The high-paid free agent CB had his worst game in the NFL last week grading at -4.3, which was actually helped by his +1.2 run grade. Talib has been solid the rest of the year giving up just 1.10 Yards per Coverage Snap on the year.

Brandon Marshall – After struggling to start the year, Marshall posted four straight positive games, getting better in each until last week he posted an even 0.0. The third-year pro has 28 stops, 17 coming via the run for an 11.5 Run Stop Percentage.

Louis Vasquez – The veteran RG had a career year in 2013, posting a +36.4 PFF grade and gave up zero sacks. 2014 hasn’t been great to him as he has a +2.9 grade on the year while already giving up a sack.

Oakland Raiders

Stefen Wisniewski – The center has had a solid year, being one of the team’s few green-graded players. Wisniewski has given up just one sack on the year and has a solid 98.1 Pass Blocking Efficieny, which ties him for sixth in the NFL.

Justin Tuck – In limited work, the former New York Giant is quietly grading well; sitting at +10.2 on just 263 snaps.

Tarell Brown – In one game vs. Arizona Brown posted a -3.4 grade, but in six of his eight games he has put up positives and is giving up just 1.17 Yards per Coverage Snap.

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| Analyst

John is an analyst for Pro Football Focus and former safety for the University of Kansas Jayhawks (2004–2006).

  • Malachi

    i don’t follow the raiders too closely, but i thought they were a 4-3 team aaand mack was a sam backer not a will (in reference to clady, and not paul cornick, “limiting mack”). no?

    • Chris

      From what I’ve seen the Raiders play a lot of hybrid looks and alternate between 3-4 and 4-3 fronts. The thought this summer was they were switching to a 3-4 when they brought in Smith and Woodley and drafted Mack.

    • Baseman

      We have alot of 4-3 where Mack is the DE lined up with his hand in the ground. PFF counts that as 3-4 because I guess because Mack is technically an OLB. IMO as long as his hand is in the ground, he’s a DE and its a 4-3.

      • Malachi

        i feel ya, sounds similar to my broncos and von miller. we’re a hybrid front as well, 3-4 against run based teams and 4-3 against pass oriented offenses. but we’re mostly nickel anyway, and 2-4-5 at that