Coming off an emotional, come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, suddenly the optimism of the 2012 NFL season has crept back in for the Oakland Raiders. At 1-2, the Raiders have a chance to level their record as they travel to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Beating the Broncos won't be easy, as the Raiders will still likely be without starters Shawntae Spencer, Khalif Barnes, and likely won't have wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. But injured and depleted, the Raiders still have one player who has bucked the Broncos the last two seasons: Darren McFadden.
Along with McFadden, the rock-solid play of Carson Palmer will be vital as the game could turn into a shootout at Invesco Field. But there will be some familiar themes critical to victory. Having said that, here are the five keys to a Raider victory Sunday.
Edit: Per Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post (via Twitter), Denver linebacker Joe Mays' one-game suspension has been upheld by the NFL. That means Mays will miss Sunday's gave against the Raiders.