The quick turnaround time for the 9-3 Denver Broncos is one of the story lines going into this week’s game against the 3-9 Oakland Raiders.
Playing a physical road matchup on Sunday followed by a Thursday night away game is tough on any team, but to have to go through that entering week 14 of a very long season, well, that could spell trouble.
With their 2012 playoff dreams flushed into the Bay waters, the Raiders have absolutely nothing to lose. They also have a head coach who is grieving the loss of his father. You can bet that the Raiders will want to pull this “upset” out for Dennis Allen.
The Broncos don’t mind playing on a short week at the end of the regular season.
“I like it,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “I like it because it’s like another bye week. You don’t get as many days but at least you get some time to get away from football a little bit. It kind of lets you reflect on what you’ve done up to that point. Some guys can come back refocused and I think it helps us.”
Bailey is right. The Broncos will get a pseudo bye week, especially if they win. They would likely get Friday-Sunday off and return to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday.
If nothing else, this week of preparation or lack thereof is a great learning experience for the young guys on the roster as well.
“The reason why the older cats are in the league, they know the ropes,” second year safety Rahim Moore said after Tuesday’s practice. “They’ve been through it all. [CB] Champ [Bailey] and [LB] Keith [Brooking], it’s not their second go-round. They did it their whole careers. The reason they’re in this locker room is they play at a high level and they know what it takes. All of us young guys, we learn from those cats. Hopefully we’ll see the years they see.”
The older players may have the mental advantage, but the younger guys have bodies that can recover faster.
“It’s not too bad—not for me, I’m one of the young guys,” linebacker Von Miller said. “I’m ready to go today if I have to. Having a couple days, it’ll be good. Some of the vets have a harder time, but the young guys, we’ll be alright.”
The Broncos have won their last four of six Thursday night games dating back to 2006 when the league first allowed one NFL game to be played on Thursday.