December 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shakes hands with Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) after the game at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Raiders might be struggling as a franchise, but whenever it comes to two teams who are apart of one of the most well known rivalries in the league, all cards are on the table.
Coming off of an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos travel to the “Black Hole” to face their AFC West rival Oakland Raiders. While the Raiders are 0-8 on the season and have not won a game since last season, the Broncos should be careful when playing them. The only reason I say this is because of how the Raiders have played against playoff teams from last year.
Looking back at those games, the Raiders played the Patriots and were able to hang in the game for a while. Then they almost gave the San Diego Chargers a loss by taking a 28-21 lead until Brandon Oliver scored the game leading touchdown and the Chargers defense forced an interception. The Raiders even made the game interesting against the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field before they ultimately lost.
Even though the Broncos and Raiders both lost by six to the Seahawks, it puts a bad taste in my mouth, more so that the Raiders held the Patriots to 16 points while the Broncos were out classed by them in the worst way last Sunday. This makes this game for the Broncos a chance to show how they can rebound from a loss against a team that might be winless, but does have potential if they let a team hang around with them, which is spoken more for their defense than offense. This is especially true because of the players that they have on the defensive side of the ball. First round pick Khalil Mack has all the potential to become a defensive star in the league as he has recorded 50 tackles and is a solid player in the run game. He is looking for his first sack, and it would probably make his day if he was to get his first sack against the legend that is Peyton Manning.
Speaking of Manning, ever since he has arrived in Denver, the Broncos have not lost a game against the Raiders and have scored 30+ points all but once in the four meetings. With how upset the Broncos are after getting beaten down by New England, there is no doubt that the Raiders will feel their wrath. As long as the Broncos can take care of business and keep the Raiders out of the game, this should be chalked up in the win column. Just do not let the Raiders hang around. They may be winless, but they can be dangerous as well, especially if their defense can make some big plays.