Denver Broncos: Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders, 25 or Under?

DENVER, COLORADO - JANUARY 03: Darren Waller #83 of the Las Vegas Raiders carries the ball after making a reception against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Empower Field At Mile High on January 03, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JANUARY 03: Darren Waller #83 of the Las Vegas Raiders carries the ball after making a reception against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Empower Field At Mile High on January 03, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders
Nov 15, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass after being pressured out of the pocket by Denver Broncos defensive end DeShawn Williams (90) during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos defense: 25 or under?

When the Las Vegas Raiders come into the Mile High City, they will be without former Head Coach, Jon Gruden. He recently filed his resignation amidst some awful and disgusting emails that came from his personal account.

How will this alter the Las Vegas Raiders game plan?

Well, the play-calling duties will be handed over to Greg Olson. This isn’t his first time around the block, he has been in the league for 34 years. He has been an offensive coordinator now for 13 seasons.

I’d imagine the game plan for the Las Vegas Raiders will shift significantly, in favor of Derek Carr and his weapons. Olson is a pass-heavy coordinator, most notably, according to KOA Insider, Benjamin Albright, he was a part of the reason former Denver Broncos tight end, Julius Thomas, ending up in Duval.

Jon Gruden wanted a more balanced approach, maybe this held Derek Carr back a little bit. Coming into this game, I think this secondary needs to be prepared more than anyone else. Von Miller and the pass rushers as well.

Unfortunately for the Denver Broncos, Carr has been hyper-efficient when facing the Broncos. He has this uncanny ability to get rid of the football in a quick manner, basically isolating the Denver Broncos pass rush. That is where the defensive line has to take notes and get their hands up.

This is a perfect game for Shelby Harris to tell Broncos Country, do not forget about me.

What concerns me the most in this matchup are the Las Vegas Raiders’ weapons. Darren Waller is a top-tier tight end and will see a heavy workload Sunday. Henry Ruggs III is a speed demon and has the ability to give this secondary fits, especially considering the number of big plays they have given up in the last few weeks.

Even Hunter Renfrow, he is just a football player. He knows his assignment, he knows where to be, and he is an effective security blanket for Carr. Henry Ruggs III is averaging 20.5 yards per reception this season.

On top of the weapons, I am concerned about the Raiders coming out with this, “it’s us against the world” type of mentality and going ballistic offensively. Derek Carr may have more motivation than he has ever had to show he can lead the Raiders to victory, or this could completely dismantle the team and send them into all sorts of confusion.

Derek Carr will be efficient and Darren Waller will do Darren Waller-type things. After five games, the Las Vegas Raiders already rank fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game at 298.4. That said, they are averaging just 78.6 rushing yards per game, good for 29th in the NFL.

Just below them though, are the Pittsburgh Steelers and we saw what the Steelers rushing attack was able to do against the Denver Broncos. Rookie Najee Harris was ripping off five and six-yard runs like it wasn’t anyone’s business.

With all of the yardage, it hasn’t necessarily translated into points. Las Vegas is averaging 22.6 points per game, which is 19th in the NFL. Von Miller and this Broncos’ defense are allowing the second least amount points allowed per game at 15.2

Giving up just 207 passing yards a game for this defense sounds good, which statistically it is, as it is sixth in the NFL. This statistic doesn’t tell the entire story for they have played two rookie quarterbacks, Daniel Jones, and a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger.

Derek Dallas Carr will throw the ball all over the football field, but I think the defense tightens up in the red zone. In his NFL career, Derek Carr has a winning record against the Denver Broncos, currently sitting at 7-6.

As I mentioned before, he is efficient and his 65.5 completion percentage shows that. He has thrown for 2,944 yards, along with 14 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. Three of those interceptions came in his rookie campaign against the Broncos, so he definitely has been better as of late.

Carr has also had two incredibly efficient games against the Broncos, posting a completion percentage of 90.63 in 2018 and 84.62 in 2019. Stopping Derek Carr isn’t the most difficult task, but if he is on his game he can make life difficult for pass rushers and the opposing secondary.

Let’s hope this isn’t one of the games where he gets rid of the ball so quickly that it neutralized Von Miller. Speaking of Miller, he should wreck the right side of the Raiders offensive line. On the right side, they have Brandon Parker at right tackle and Alex Leatherwood, who both have graded out as the 73rd and 74th right tackles in the NFL, on a metric that only goes up to 74.

The pass rush has to win on Sunday. In order for the Denver Broncos to win Sunday, they can not have a slow step or Carr will make them play. There has to be hands up and batted passes, I think Carr is going to approach this game in a methodical way.

It is honestly incredibly difficult to predict what will happen in this battle, but I will give it my best shot.

Starting out, I think the Las Vegas Raiders will come out firing, ultimately ending up in an early score. After a long drive by the Denver Broncos offense to settle things down, I believe the Broncos defense will collect themselves and settle in.

Using the term “must-win” for the sixth game of the season seems farfetched, but this game is an absolute must-win game. If Fangio and this coaching staff get outcoached Sunday, their seats should become so hot that it is unbearable.

I think they are aware of the magnitude of this game and they lay it all out on the line Sunday. Every trick they have, I think they pull. Newly signed wide receiver and former Las Vegas Raider, John Brown, should be making his debut as a Denver Bronco.

Free-Agent acquisition Ronald Darby should be returning to the field since being put on IR early in the season. This Broncos defense barely holds on to a victory, pushing the Denver Broncos to a victory.

Squeaking by on a defensive stand to end the game, I think the Denver Broncos hold the Las Vegas Raiders to 23 points. There will be a time where it will be bleak, but I think the crowd really hypes this team up and provides some mile-high magic in front of now Ring of Famer, Mike Shanahan, and fellow Ring & Hall of Famer, Steve Atwater.