Denver Broncos: 5 matchups team must win vs the Las Vegas Raiders

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos, Vic Fangio
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos host the Las Vegas Raiders this week and face several tough tasks against some of the Raiders’ top players and units.

The Broncos need to get back on track. After winning their first three games of the 2021 season, they have lost two straight. Winning against the Raiders will be huge in figuring out their identity for the year. It will be their first division matchup of the season, which is always a huge deal.

As you may have heard, the Raiders no longer have their original head coach in Jon Gruden. They’ll be going with Rich Bisaccia, who was previously the assistant head coach as well as their special teams coordinator.

The Broncos cannot let the Raiders’ own upstairs issues be any sort of factor. They host the Raiders to do one thing: win.

Here are five things the Denver Broncos will need to do in order to send the Raiders back to Los Angeles with a loss.

The Denver Broncos have to win these five matchups against the Las Vegas Raiders.

1. Disguises vs Henry Ruggs

The Denver Broncos appear to be prone to giving up some big plays to wide receivers this season despite adding Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and rookie Patrick Surtain to the secondary during the offseason and 2021 NFL Draft.

There have been lapses in coverage several times this season, including a touchdown from Daniel Jones to Sterling Shepard in week 1 against the New York Giants. They’ll need to get on the same page against the speedy Ruggs.

One thing’s for sure: The Denver Broncos have been missing Darby ever since he injured his hamstring in week 1, and has missed each game since.

I’m not sure the Broncos have enough speed at cornerback to play man coverage against Ruggs, so they’re going to have to do what Vic Fangio’s scheme mostly is: zone coverage.

That, as well as potentially disguising coverages to where they play man coverage but then the wide receiver enters a defensive zone or even another man-on-man assignment.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Broncos can challenge Ruggs with this secondary. It is just a matter of getting in position and calling the right defensive plays to accomplish the task at hand. It will be difficult, but possible.