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Key Matchups to Watch: Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos

The Oakland Raiders fell at home last weekend 34-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs, dropping their overall record to 5-7 with four games to play.

They now prepare to travel to Denver to take on quarterback Brock Osweiler and Co., in a game that the Silver and Black must have in order to keep any chance of making the postseason alive.

However, before the Raiders take on the Denver Broncos, let's double-check our matchups of the week, brought to you by State Farm.

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper vs. Cornerback Aqib Talib

The Oakland Raiders haven't had a wide receiver reach the 1,000-yard mark since 2005 when Randy Moss recorded 1,005 receiving yards, but heading into Sunday's game in Denver, Amari Cooper is right on the precipice of that milestone as he currently has 920 yards.

If Cooper wants to enjoy the first 1,000-receiving season of his young career, it'll be tough sledding Sunday, as he'll have his hands full going against Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.

Talib is regarded as one of the better cover corners in the NFL, and currently leads the Broncos with 11 passes defensed.

Cooper has routinely gone against the opposition's top corner this season, but if he can take care of his one-on-one battle against Talib, it would serve the Raiders offense, and him personally, well.

Defensive Ends Mario Edwards Jr and Khalil Mack vs. Right Tackle Michael Schofield and Left Tackle Ryan Harris

The Raiders defensive line has come alive as of late – particularly Mack who has secured 4 sacks in the past two games.

Edwards has also steadily improved throughout the season, tallying a sack in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, and Head Coach Jack Del Rio has been pleased with how the defensive front has been performing in recent weeks.

"I thought Khalil Mack took another step forward in terms of asserting himself in the front, showed up around the quarterback three different times, ended up with two sacks, really good to see," said Head Coach Del Rio. "Mario Edwards [Jr.] continues to play well."

The Broncos boast a formidable offensive line and it'll be critical for the Raiders pass rush to get to quarterback Brock Osweiler and make his life difficult Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Left Tackle Donald Penn vs. Outside Linebacker DeMarcus Ware

When asked about the Broncos defense, Derek Carr spoke directly – it all starts with the Denver defensive line.

"That pass rush is ridiculous," Carr said. "Obviously they drafted another first rounder to add to it. Not just the end guys, but the interior guys and the linebackers on blitzes. They're all great players."

One of those great players that the Raiders will have to be keyed on is outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

The veteran linebacker has tallied 6.5 total sacks this year and is an integral part of the Broncos defense that is currently top-ranked in the NFL.

Ware has been out as of late nursing a back injury, but he is expected to be on the field Sunday afternoon when the Broncos play host to the Silver and Black.

The Broncos will assuredly bring a multitude of looks and blitzes at Carr, and Donald Penn will have to deliver an impressive performance to keep the Raiders quarterback upright.

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