Broncos-Raiders Rivalry Reconvenes On Sunday Night Football
The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders meet on Sunday Night Football vying for the lead in the AFC West. Turnovers may be at a premium in this one.
Sunday, the Denver Broncos will meet the Oakland Raiders in the continuation of their rivalry before a national audience on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
With each team ‘s record at 6-2, first place in the AFC West is on the line. In the series, the Broncos have taken eight out of the last nine games against Oakland.
The last game was the only one the Raiders have won in that span, a 15-12 decision at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Week 14 of 2015.
In that game, Raiders’ outside linebacker Khalil Mack had his coming-out party as he had 5 sacks of then Broncos’ quarterback Brock Osweiler.
This season, Mack has been a focus for opposing offenses to stop. Thus far, he has only five siacks in the Raiders’ first eight games of the season.
The Raiders have played many close games thus far in 2016, with six of their eight games decided by six points or less.
Their six wins have come by a combined 35 points, or by an average margin of 5.8 points per game.
As for the Broncos, this is much different as their six wins have come by a combined 73 points, or 12.1 points per game.
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Much of this has to do with the improvement of second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian.
The Northwestern product has won six of his first seven starts (85.7 percent). He also has twice as many touchdowns as interceptions (8 TD’s to 4 INT’s).
Last week, as the Broncos beat the Chargers 29-17 in Denver, Siemian had both good and bad moments. However, peaks and valleys are to be expected with a young quarterback.
In any event, he is still completing just under 62 percent of his passes for 1,487 yards. Every passing week, he also shows glimpses of his great potential.
However, in addressing the Denver media last week, head coach Gary Kubiak says he wants to see the Broncos offense improve.
It’s apparent to me, from my film study, that the running game needs to be more of a priority. In the win over San Diego, the Broncos had 38 passes to 25 runs.
Ever since his days as the offensive coordinator of the Broncos, Kubiak’s offenses have always been at their best when they run the ball well.
Even with tailback C.J. Anderson out for the season, his replacements, Devontae Booker and Juwan Thompson, are both capable of shouldering more of the load.
If the Broncos want to repeat as Super Bowl champions, this is something they must do.
This is a game of contrasts in many ways as the Broncos’ defense is third overall in yards given up (301.2 yards) and the Raiders are 31st at 410.4 yards per game.
If there was a game for the Broncos’ offense to really find itself, this is a golden opportunity.
Meanwhile, strong-armed signal-caller Derek Carr has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 2,321 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions for the Raiders.
His contributions have helped the Raiders have the #5 offense in the NFL at 401.6 yards per game. Additionally, their offense is fourth in the NFL in scoring with 26.9 points per game.
However, the big difference in the game could well be turnovers. If so, something proverbially has to give.
This is because the Raiders are fourth in turnover ratio at +6, and the Broncos are sixth at +5.
Thus, my X factor is turnovers. Whoever wins this battle wins the game in a matchup that is wonderful in many ways.
As for the injury report, the Broncos are forced to do without star cornerback Aqib Talib and the Raiders without defensive tackle Stacy McGee.
Still, the weather should be just fine for this one, for what it’s worth. KRON-TV of San Francisco’s Rebecca Strom reports temperatures Sunday evening will be in the mid-60’s and mostly cloudy.
In any event, this is your game-thread. If any Raiders fans happen upon us, treat them nicely. GO BRONCOS!!!