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Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
When Denver signed Peyton Manning during the offseason, many believed the move would catapult the Broncos into the upper crust of the AFC. But a 1-2 start, with inconsistent play on both sides of the ball, has tempered expectations a bit. The Broncos will try to snap a two-game losing streak Sunday when they host the Oakland Raiders. After its 31-19 victory over Pittsburgh in Week 1, Denver succumbed to Atlanta and Houston after falling behind by 20 points in the third quarter of each game before losing by six. The Raiders, who have won four straight at Denver, are coming off their first victory of the season, 34-31 over Pittsburgh, and got their running game going with Broncos with nemesis Darren McFadden leading the way.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-2): Oakland rushed for 119 yards last week – 113 by McFadden, including a 64-yard touchdown run – after totaling 55 in its first two games. McFadden has rushed for 434 yards and three touchdowns on 58 carries (7.5 average) in his last three three games against the Broncos and also has a receiving TD. The Raiders’ defense has allowed 29.3 points and 264.7 passing yards – both 26th in the NFL. Oakland tight end Brandon Myers suffered a concussion last week, but coach Dennis Allen, who was Denver’s defensive coordinator in 2011, said he is confident Myers will play Sunday. Myers has been targeted 15 times by Carson Palmer and caught all 15 passes for a team-leading 206 yards.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (1-2): Denver’s early schedule has been full of playoff contenders, so its slow start was somewhat expected. Against Atlanta, the Broncos could not come back from Peyton Manning’s three first-quarter interceptions. In the Houston game, a pair of long pass plays victimized the secondary. Broncos running back Willis McGahee suffered a rib injury against Houston and was a limited participant in practice Wednesday. He will likely play. Denver will be without starting middle linebacker Joe Mays, though. He was suspended one game and fined $50,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, which resulted in Schaub losing a piece of his ear as his helmet flew off his head.
1. Oakland signed DE Andre Carter, who was born in Denver, to a free agent contract Wednesday. He had 10 sacks with New England in 2011 before his season was cut short after 14 games because of a quadriceps injury. Carter’s father, Rubin, was the starting nose tackle on Denver’s Orange Crush defense in Super Bowl XII in 1978.
2. Manning, who set a career high with 26 incomplete passes last week (26 of 52), has been sacked eight times and is on pace for a record 43.
3. Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski, who won last week’s game with a 43-yarder as time expired, tied the NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in the last meeting in Denver, a 23-20 Oakland victory in 2011.