The Raiders finally return home to Oakland to take on a struggling Denver Broncos team that has lost six in a row.
Way back in week four, back when the Raiders were still considered a playoff contender, the team traveled to grapple with the Denver Broncos. The team was 2-1 at that point, but coming off a tough loss to the Washington Redskins on the road.
Back-to-back road games are always tough, and Oakland fell to the Broncos that day, 16-10. Basically, the wheels fell off the bus.
Since then, the Raiders have lost four of their next six and have fallen to 4-6 on the season. Fortunately, their division opponents haven’t been that much better, giving the Raiders at least a glimmer of hope going into this Sunday’s rematch with the Broncos at home.
The Raiders have a new defensive coordinator in John Pagano. The change was made after Tom Brady basically shredded the Oakland defense last week in Mexico City, which resulted in the dismissal of now former Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
“I think the one thing we’re trying to truly establish, I think the main thing is you’ve got to play with confidence,” Pagano said to at the team’s weekly press conference. “You have to have that ability of going out there and knowing your assignment, and playing faster. Not to say there’s been times that we’ve simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is the important thing.”
The should do better at home and not having to face Brady and company. The Denver Broncos are going into the game with second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch making his first start of the season. He was a first-round pick a year ago, but has basically been third string until this week.
The Broncos have been just as disappointing as the Raiders and this week fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and promoted Bill Musgrave, who was a former Raiders offensive coordinator.
The Raiders are still a little banged up on defense with cornerback David Amerson still not ready to practice and linebacker Cory James limited. Denver has a good pair of receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (although Sanders was limited in practice on Thursday), so even with Lynch behind center, it will still be a tough go for the Raiders.
On offense, starting right guard Gabe Jackson hasn’t practiced this week, but right tackle Marshall Newhouse was a full participant on Thursday.
A win over the Denver Broncos would put the Raiders at 5-6 and, surprisingly, tied for second in the division with Chargers. Kansas City, which has stumbled as of late, is currently 6-4 and facing the Bills this week.
Game time is 1:25 p.m. in Oakland. The Raiders are a 5-point favorite in the game and the total is 43.5 points.