For the second time this season, two longtime AFC West rivals will do battle, as the Las Vegas Raiders visit the Denver Broncos. In their first matchup of the season, the Raiders throttled the Broncos 37-12, and it seems like a good bet Denver will badly want to avenge that blowout loss on Sunday.
The Raiders (7-8) are surprisingly out of contention in the AFC playoff picture, despite starting the season hot. Their postseason dreams ended painfully with a 26-25 loss to the Miami Dolphins last Saturday.
However, QB Derek Carr showed a lot of toughness and grit playing through a groin injury he suffered in Week 15. Showing few ill effects of the injury, Carr got the scoring started against the Dolphins with an over the top QB sneak.
The Broncos (5-10) have had an inconsistent season— some weeks they’ve shown promise with a talented young offensive core, and other weeks they’ve failed to show and keep the game competitive. Last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, they played hard and were within striking distance, but ultimately fell 19-16.
Their defense kept Chargers QB Justin Herbert in check, containing him in the pocket and not giving up the big play.
Head to Head
The Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos have played 120 times, and the Raiders have the 65-53-2 advantage over their longtime foes. The Raiders have won three out of four against Denver coming into Sunday’s game.
The Las Vegas Raiders will head into Sunday’s game banged up on the offensive line. They will be without RT Trent Brown, who has an ankle injury. G/T Denzelle Good is also looking questionable for this game, as he did not practice all week and is also dealing with an ankle injury.
The Denver Broncos young group of wide receivers might be among the best up and coming group in the league, but will be without one of their key players this Sunday. Former Penn State standout K.J. Hamler will not be in uniform on Sunday, as he is dealing with a concussion.
Additionally, LB Bradley Chubb has an ankle injury, and only practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday.
Las Vegas Raiders
QB: Derek Carr
RB: Josh Jacobs
WR: Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs(Q)
TE: Darren Waller
QB: Drew Lock
RB: Melvin Gordon
WR: Jerry Jeudy, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick
TE: Noah Fant
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Prediction
With only bragging rights at stake, it would seem like this game would be played at half-speed with a bulk of regulars getting benched midway through the game. Both coaching staffs might opt for that if the score gets out of hand.
But each team has realistic chances of bouncing back in 2021, and would probably not want to squander an opportunity to have some good film to build on.
Prediction: Even though they might still be licking their wounds from last week’s defeat against Miami, Las Vegas still has the better team right now. It also has a more reliable triumvirate leading their offense with Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller on the field.
Look for this game to be surprisingly competitive for teams just playing out the string, but Las Vegas figures to edge out their division rivals.
Raiders 23, Broncos 21.Published 02 Jan 2021, 22:14 IST