Many things have changed since the last time Oakland and Denver met in Week 1. The Raiders have a new quarterback and a new wide receiver. They might also have a different running back than the one the Broncos faced in the season-opener. But regardless of that, one thing remains the same.
The Raiders are a premier running team. They are second in the NFL, averaging 159.3 rushing yards per game. Even if the NFL’s eighth-leading rusher, Darren McFadden, doesn’t play — he hasn’t practiced this week with a foot injury — the Raiders will utilize Michael Bush and rookie Taiwan Jones.
Bush stepped in for McFadden in the Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs after the fourth-year running back out of Arkansas injured his foot. Bush ran for 99 yards on 17 carries.
Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen has been impressed with McFadden, calling him “one of the better backs in the league,” but notes that the Broncos won’t get much of a break if he doesn’t play.
“I think when you go back and look at (their last) game, he gets hurt, and they hand the ball off to Bush, and I think he had about 100 yards rushing in the game,” Allen said. “I think schematically what they do, their personnel allows them to be a really good running football team, and when you put a special talent like Darren McFadden back there, it makes it even that much better.”