Broncos seeking first win over Las Vegas Raiders in season finale

The Denver Broncos have a chance to end its seven-game losing streak to the Raiders, and finish the 2023 season on a high note.

Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Since the Broncos' bitter rival moved to Las Vegas in 2020, luck has not been on Denver's side. The Broncos have lost seven straight games to the Raiders including four gut-wrenching one-score losses. From a walk-off two-point conversion in 2020 to a game-sealing overtime bomb in 2022, the Raiders have beaten the Broncos in the most painful of ways throughout the early portion of this decade. Perhaps this upcoming Sunday will be different.

The Broncos will be in Las Vegas to take on the Raiders in their final game of 2023. The two teams last met in a week one game (17-16 Raiders win) that feels like it was ages ago as both teams look dramatically different than their week one renditions. Both teams have different guys under center now, the quarterback matchup of Jimmy Garoppolo versus Russell Wilson has now become Aidan O'Connell versus Jarrett Stidham.

Josh McDaniels has since been relieved of his Raiders head coaching duties, and been replaced by interim head coach Antonio Pierce. Unlike Vegas, the Broncos' staff is still the same as it was in week one, but the starting lineup has obviously been shaken up quite a bit since September. Denver's week one lineup relied on guys like edge rushers Randy Gregory and Frank Clark- both of which are no longer with the team- and cornerback Damarri Mathis who was benched mid-season. With all of the changes, it's hard to believe that opening game was in the same season we are in now, but the pain of that week one loss still lingers.

At 8-8, it's hard not to imagine where the Broncos could be had they not dropped that opening game to the Raiders. From a failed surprise onside kick to open the game, to missed kicks, the Broncos made plenty of mistakes that cost them in the end. One less mistake might have allowed Denver to win that game, and with one more win on the schedule, perhaps the Broncos could be squarely in the playoffs. Speaking in "would haves" and "could haves" can not change Denver's fate, but it does make the prospect of revenge very enticing.

Defeating the Raiders in week 18 is not likely to change much for the Broncos in the long term, but similar to other feats Denver has accomplished this year, it would feel like a return to form. Before the season began, the Broncos had a 16-game losing streak to the Chiefs and a winless record in the stadium of another division rival, the Los Angeles Chargers. They put an end to both of those streaks, and now they have an opportunity to end yet another streak and give Broncos Country a winning send off into yet another hope-filled off season.

As the season closes, talks about personnel moves and roster changes have already started to heat up. The league moves at a thousand miles per hour, and teams must always look to the future, but there is still a game to be played.

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The Broncos will be playing a bitter division rival they have not beaten in seven straight attempts. That should be taken personally. The team will have all offseason to formulate moves that can improve the roster, but for this week, the objective is clear as day: Just win, baby.