The Denver Broncos open their 2023-24 season at home against AFC West rivals Las Vegas Raiders. It will be the first official game for Sean Payton as the Broncos' head coach, and it will be against former Broncos' head coach, and now Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.
For the first time since the 2014-2015 season, the Raiders will not have Pro Bowler Derek Carr, who had an 11-6 win-loss record against Denver, as their starting quarterback, since he was released in the offseason, and then signed by the New Orleans Saints. Carr had a 65.7 completion percentage, 3,981 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions with the Raiders against the Denver Broncos.
After the 2022-23 season, Las Vegas signed former Patriots and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a familiar face for their head coach Josh McDaniels, as both spent time together in New England. For me, a downgrade from Carr to Jimmy, but it is what it is ... Garoppolo has faced the Broncos once in his career as the starting quarterback, and this happened in that game ...
Garoppolo finished the game with 18/29 completions/attempts, 211 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, was sacked four times and with a loss. The Broncos won that game 11 - 10.
Besides Garoppolo, the Raiders had other moves in the offseason, here are the key ones ...
- Traded Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller to the Giants, selected Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and signed Austin Hooper, OJ Howard
- Signed receivers Keelan Cole, DeAndre Carter, Cam Sims, and former Patriots' Jakobi Meyers. Additionally, they drafted receiver Tre Tucker.
- Drafted edge Tyree Wilson with the 7th overall pick in the 2023 Draft
- Signed DL Jerry Tillery, a former first-round draft pick, and drafted DLs Byron Young and Nesta Jade Silvera
- Drafted CB Jakorian Bennett, signed CB Marcus Peters, and safety Marcus Epps
- Signed LB David Long Jr.
- Drafted QB Aidan O'Connell and signed Brian Hoyer
The Raiders finished with a 6-11 win-loss record during their first season under Josh McDaniels, two of those came against the Broncos. Nathaniel Hackett was the Broncos head coach in both games. The other four games the Las Vegas Raiders won ... Texans (head coach fired), Chargers (Brandon Staley's awful coaching), Seahawks (Josh Jacobs's game-winning run in overtime), and Patriots (Chandler Jones' touchdown in a Jakobi Meyers pass, and probably the worst play of the season) ...
With that being said, here is how I think the Broncos can take advantage of the Raiders and win their opening game ...