Raiders key matchup No. 1: McFadden vs. Johnson

Raiders key matchup No. 1: McFadden vs. Johnson
September 30, 2012, 4:18 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three Raiders-Broncos matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (CBS) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Key matchup No. 3: Dennis Allen vs. John Fox
Key matchup No. 2: Michael Huff vs. Peyton Manning
Tale of the tape
Darren McFadden: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, fifth season, Arkansas
Steven Johnson: 6-foot-1, 237 pounds, rookie, KansasDENVER -- Perhaps Raiders coach Dennis Allen put it best this week when asked how he prepared for Darren McFadden in last year's season opener as Denver's defensive coordinator."I tried to get as many hats around him as you can," Allen said. "We didn't sleep a lot that week."And for good reason. All McFadden has done against the Broncos of late is run wild, and run some more.Consider: McFadden's 637 career rushing yards against Denver, in seven games, are his most against against any opponent, and he is shooting for his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game against the Broncos on Sunday, having already run for 165 yards on Oct. 24, 2010, 119 yards on Dec. 19, 2010 and 150 yards on Sept. 12, 2011.Not that McFadden, who is listed as "probable" to play with a sore shoulder, has Denver circled on his calendar, at least, not that he's willing to admit publicly. The Raiders have won four straight in the Mile High City."It's one of those things, going against Denver, you get it going," he said with a shrug. "I feel like it's something I did over the last few years and I want to just try and continue to do that every time I go out against them."It's just how the ball bounces. You go out there and have a good game, it just so happens it's been against Denver most of the time."And with middle linebacker Joe Mays suspended for this game for his violent hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub, the task of spying McFadden could just to fall upon Mays' backup in undrafted rookie Steven Johnson, who led the Broncos with 15 tackles in the preseason but has yet to register one in the regular season. And he's only appeared in one game so far, at Atlanta.That would be a huge task to ask of the rookie, though, and Broncos coach John Fox said Friday he was not going to reveal who would be playing at any of the linebacker positions until game time."Its pretty evident theyre trying many different ways to get the ball in (McFadden's) hands," Fox said. "It doesnt take long to turn on the tape and see him rip off that sixty-some yarder. He did something very similar to us the last time he was here."So hes definitely one of the more explosive backs in the National Football League. All you've got to do is turn on the tape, and our players have seen that thus far."The Raiders, no doubt, want to see more of it. Oakland is 8-2 when McFadden runs for at least 100 yards.