DENVER -- Having been on the other side, Raiders coach Dennis Allen knows the stress that Oakland running back Darren McFadden is causing the Denver Broncos.

"We didn't sleep a lot that week," Allen said.

In his past four games against Denver, McFadden has 508 yards on 70 carries (7.3 yards per rushing attempt), caught seven passes for 76 yards and scored four touchdowns -- all Raiders' wins.

"It's just one of those things, going against Denver, you get it going," McFadden said. "I feel like that's something I did over the last few years, and I want to just try and continue to do that every game I go out against them."

How the Broncos deal with McFadden will be one of the most telling matchups as the Raiders go for their fourth straight win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday.

Oakland, Denver and Kansas City are all 1-2 in the AFC West, a game behind San Diego (2-1). The Raiders have won the past four games in Denver, starting in 2008.

"No explanation. Plain and simple. They came in here, kicked our butts and went home," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey told reporters.

The last time McFadden played in Denver was the 2011 season opener, when he ran for 150 yards on 22 carries in a 23-20 win. He missed the second game with a mid-foot sprain, a Broncos win in Oakland.

"For the last couple of years, I think he's the best back in the game because of what he can do, all the different things," Bailey said. "He picks up blitzes, he does it all. If they're not using him enough then they're hurting themselves. That guy's an amazing player."

McFadden got on track in last week's 34-31 win over Pittsburgh, gaining 113 yards on 18 carries, including a 64-yard touchdown on his first rushing attempt.

"I think he's the best back we face, no disrespect to the other guys we've faced this year," Denver linebacker Keith Brooking said. "The explosive runs when you turn on the tape -- they stick out."

Getting McFadden going will be crucial because it would help tackles Jared Veldheer and Willie Smith take the steam out of Denver's ferocious outside pass rush featuring defensive end Elvis Dumervil and linebacker Von Miller.

"The thing you can't do against these guys is fall behind early," Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said. "As soon as they get a lead, those pass rushers just put their hand on the ground and come off the ball."

Any lack of sleep from Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver during the week likely came from concerns about how to deal with Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and his ability to attack a defense at its weakest point.

The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger put up big numbers last week going after the Raiders at cornerback, where both starters were out and Michael Huff moved from safety to team with Pat Lee.

Huff has played some slot corner for the Raiders, which places him usually between the hash marks as if he was at his normal position at free safety. He hadn't played outside since his sophomore year at Texas.

Against the Steelers, Huff played it safe, giving a large cushion. The result was a steady stream of Roethlisberger completions.

"I looked back and lined up sometimes 10, 12 yards off, and I probably wasn't even paying attention to it," Huff said. "This week I'll be more focused on my depth on certain things so definitely this week will be better."

Surely, Manning, who operates best out of a no-huddle offense, will be looking Huff's way often with Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas or Brandon Stokely.

Allen, Denver's defensive coordinator last season, believes Huff will be up to the task.

"It's the first time he lined up there in forever, so I would be looking for a guy that is going to play with a little bit more confidence," Allen said. "That will come just by having experience there."

  • The Raiders downgraded wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) and tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring) to out Saturday, meaning neither will play Sunday.

    It's no surprise Heyward-Bey won't be playing, given that as of Friday he hadn't passed any of his concussion tests and the severity of the blow he took from Pittsburgh's Ryan Mundy.

    Gordon's absence will be felt in that the Raiders use a lot of packages with three tight ends and now will have only two -- Brandon Myers and David Ausberry -- active. Gordon is also a core special teams player.

  • The Broncos promoted former San Jose State safety Duke Ihenacho from the practice squad as well as ex-Cal linebacker Mike Mohammad.