The Broncos should have an easy time Thursday in Oakland against a Raiders team whose defense has been one of the worst seen in the NFL in a LONG time.
Not so fast, as while the Raiders are pretty bad, the Broncos can’t just come in and assume if they throw their helmets on the field it’s game over.
Oakland actually showed some fight last week vs the Browns, losing 20-17 after falling behind and putting on an impressive second half rally.
Of course they did allow a 96-yard drive to the Browns, who happen to have a pretty awful offense themselves.
The Broncos are 9-3, and with Peyton Manning leading the way, they have already cliched their second straight division title.
Second in the NFL in completion percentage (68.0), touchdown passes (29) and passer rating (104.6), Manning went 27 of 38 for 242 yards with three TDs and an interception Sunday to help Denver secure the West crown with a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay.
“It’s one step,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “It’s not like we’ve done everything we want to do.”
The Broncos also have their sights set on going undefeated in the division and getting a first-round bye in the playoffs. They’re tied with New England and Baltimore for the No. 2 seed in the AFC, but are currently fourth based on tiebreakers with those teams.
“We always say people remember what you do in December,” coach John Fox told the Broncos’ official website. “So that’s what we have ahead of us. We’ve got a division game coming up. Hopefully, we get to 5-0 in the division. There’s a lot to play for. We’ll see where that leads us.”
Denver has scored at least 30 points in six of the seven games during the team’s longest string of victories since starting 13-0 in 1998. Manning has thrown 18 TDs and six INTs while posting a 107.5 rating during the streak, and Demaryius Thomas has caught four of those touchdowns over the last three games – two against the Buccaneers.
“I feel like we’ve scratched the surface of the team we know we can be,” said linebacker Von Miller, who had his 15th sack and his fifth forced fumble while also returning an interception 26 yards for a score Sunday. “We’ve just got to keep on going to be that team that we all know we’re capable of being.”
Again though, they are playing a bad defense in the Raiders, and have to make sure to put together some solid early drives to try and put a dagger in the Raiders early.
Oakland will try to turn this game into a fight, and at home, it’s happened before where teams have fallen asleep only to wake up and find themselves losers in the end (just ask Pittsburgh earlier this year).
With all that said, the Broncos will win, it just may be a bit closer than many want it.
Denver 34 Oakland 24