Denver Broncos: Behind Enemy Lines with Brian Manning

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As the Denver Broncos battle the Oakland Raiders in a Week 17 divisional showdown, I chat with a Raiders fan I know pretty personally to hear his thoughts.

The Denver Broncos will play the last game of their 2019 season on Sunday. They will end it just as they began, against their divisional rivals, the Oakland Raiders.

In Week one, the Raiders dominated all phases of the game and gave the Broncos a good thumping by virtue of a 24-16 score. In that game, Denver never really felt close to getting the win. Rookie RB Josh Jacobs made history, and that loss (hopefully) left a bad taste in the mouth of the Denver Broncos.

Although the Broncos will finish below .500 and miss the playoffs, they still have a lot to play for. Not only will they get a bigger sample size of Drew Lock by the end of this game, but the Oakland Raiders are still battling for a playoff spot. What better way to close out the Raiders’ time as the Oakland Raiders by spoiling their playoff bid?

As the divisional rivalry marches on I thought it would be fun to march behind enemy lines, which realistically, is just across my living room. The truth comes out– my spouse, who proposed to me at a Broncos game, is a die hard Raiders fan. I sat down with my own husband, Brian Manning, who bleeds silver and black, to get his opinions on Sunday’s matchup and the state of the Raiders.

SM: A lot needs to happen for the Raiders to sneak in the back door to get into the playoffs in Week 17. Realistically, how do you see this shaking out?

BM: Of all of the things that need to happen, I only anticipate that two or three of the scenarios will happen. I don’t expect that Baltimore will beat Pittsburgh while sitting most of their starters, and if Kansas City beats the Chargers in the early game, they will clinch the #3 seed, and Houston may give their starters more rest if they no longer are vying for that seed. Overall, my hopes aren’t high that the Raiders make the playoffs.

SM: The Raiders were right in the playoff mix, but hit a four game skid and really struggled in those games. What do you think were the biggest issues the Raiders faced in that losing stretch?

BM: I’d have to say it was a combination of things- not being prepared, turnovers, a lackluster offense, defensive inability to make stops and spending a large portion of the game on the field, and injuries did not make matters any better.

SM: The Oakland Raiders’ Twitter fan base seems to have split opinion on QB Derek Carr. What is your take on him?

BM: I think Carr is talented, and has all of the arm talent in the world to make throws he needs to make. He is good at making his reads and checking in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage, but lots of fans (including myself) wish he would take more risks instead of playing it safe all the time. However, I do have to include that he tends to always play well against the Broncos. Overall, I think he is our franchise QB, but he needs an improved supporting cast, mainly receiver help. The only constant he has had this season is TE Darren Waller.

SM: The Raiders once again boast one of the best offensive lines in the league. How do you think this line holds up against Denver’s pass rush on Sunday? 

BM: Trent Brown is currently on IR, and Richie Incognito is questionable for Sunday’s game. David Sharp will get the start at RT, with a fair performance last week against the Chargers. Denzel Good filled in for Incognito, and played very well. It all comes down to if they will be able to run block and create ability to open up the quick passing game. With the Broncos’ defensive unit playing much better than in Week 1, it will be a tough task, even when missing the likes of Bradley Chubb and Derek Wolfe. 

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