Denver Broncos Wish List vs. Oakland Raiders in Week 17


I don’t ask for much from the Denver Broncos, other than that they win every single week of the football season. I don’t think that the team or any of the higher ups within expect them to lose on a given week, even in a difficult game. Certainly, I can be reasoned with, but otherwise I expect the Denver Broncos to put out a product on a weekly basis that is capable of winning a football game no matter the circumstance. So begins my (perhaps unreasonable) wish list for the Broncos in their week 17 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.

1. Win the Game

This is something that the Broncos are favored to do by more than two touchdowns, and it’s something they should be expected to do. The Broncos are undefeated at home this season (7-0) and this would be their first perfect home record since 2005 when they were led to the AFC Championship game (and the first win over Tom Brady in the playoffs) by Jake Plummer and company.

The last three times the Broncos have been undefeated at home, they have reached the conference title game. The two times prior to 2005, they won the Super Bowl. If you’re going strictly by this stat, a win on Sunday would leave the Broncos with seemingly pretty high odds within the last 20 years of data to not only go to but win the Super Bowl.

OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but having an undefeated record at home is something the Broncos can really hang their hat on. They have played the toughest slate of games of any NFL playoff team currently, and an undefeated record at home would be impressive, even if the last one is coming against the Raiders, who currently have just three wins.

2. Score a Defensive Touchdown

Is this really too much to ask? The Broncos currently lead the league in offensive touchdowns, and the defense has made some big plays this year as well. Some missed field goals this season are the difference between the Broncos and the highest scoring teams in the league, the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.

Of course, Peyton Manning and the boys can’t do it all. The Broncos scored a defensive touchdown last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, and it turned out to be their only points of the first half. It would be great to see the Denver defense continue to attack the football and make another big play like Aqib Talib made and take the ball away from Oakland and put it in the end zone.

3. Get Emmanuel Sanders 100 receptions

Emmanuel Sanders has been nothing short of phenomenal in his first season with the Broncos. From spectacular catches to clutch catches to being a fantasy football superstar and interacting with the fans, Sanders has been first class.

So, I feel like he deserves another milestone. In addition to his first season over 1,000 yards receiving, Sanders has 95 catches on the year. If the Broncos so choose, it would be nice to get Sanders at least five catches in this game to put him at or over 100 on the year. Better yet, get Sanders at least five catches and a touchdown today, because he’s one touchdown away from double digit scores on the year.

It’s not all about numbers, though Sanders has put up great ones, but it’s fun to achieve these kinds of things. Plus, there might be some bonus money involved there.

4. Protect Peyton Better

The Broncos will face another unique pass rushing task against Khalil Mack and the Raiders. The Broncos need to figure out a way to stop Mack and the Raiders’ rush, if for no other reason than to give Manning some assurance that in the playoffs, he will at least be protected. Right now, that’s a major question as Manning was rushed in Cincinnati and had his worst game possibly as a member of the Denver Broncos.

The offensive line better figure things out quickly.

5. Get Julius Thomas back on track

Julius Thomas had 12 touchdowns seemingly immediately this season, and then he disappeared. With multiple games of three touchdowns, Thomas appeared in line to break Randy Moss’ single season touchdown record. That obviously isn’t going to happen, but the oft-injured playmaker needs to have a bounce back game after looking really rusty against the Bengals.

Thomas has had problems with his ankles since coming to Denver, which could wind up costing him a lot of money this offseason. That said, he’s practiced this week and should be ready to go for this game. It would be great to see the old (healthy) Julius Thomas that has been dominant at times over the last two seasons.