Broncos-Raiders: Five predictions for Sunday’s matchup

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We’re drawing close to the most anticipated rivalry game of the year for Broncos fans — Raiders week. The Broncos have dominated this matchup since the Kyle Orton days, but this is probably the best team Oakland has had since that time.

The Broncos are anchored by the top defense in the NFL, while the Raiders have an upstart passing attack led by Derek Carr and first round draft pick Amari Cooper.

Denver’s pass rush is ready to feast against Carr and the Raiders, but the Broncos’ offensive line has plenty to worry about with Khalil Mack coming off the edge for Oakland.

This should be a fun game, as it always is. Here are my five predictions:

Aug 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) rushes during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ronnie Hillman cements top RB role

I hate to break it to all of you fantasy football owners of CJ Anderson, but Ronnie Hillman is currently the Broncos’ best running back and if we’re being honest, he has been all offseason and preseason and up to this point. Hillman is showing a lot more of what made him a highly regarded player out of San Diego State, and that’s exciting for Denver.

Hillman leads the Broncos in rushing yards, touchdowns, and yards per carry through the team’s first four games, and he provided incredible burst on a 72-yard sprint against the Minnesota Vikings.

That big play from Hillman was the longest run of any back in the NFL  this season, and the Broncos could certainly get used to seeing that kind of speed on the perimeter. The Raiders have allowed just 3.8 yards per carry this season on the ground, but they have given up 3 rushing touchdowns.

I think the speed of Hillman will get to the Oakland defense, and he’ll have a big day.

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