With the recent lawsuit brought against the team and swirling rumors of a temporary move to San Francisco or San Antonio, the storied rivalry between Denver and Oakland could see its last battle in Oakland.
On Monday night, one of the teams in action is wrapping up a disappointing season and the rumors are that the coach isn’t long for the job.
In looking at the two teams, you’d probably be a little surprised by which team has its coach on the hot seat. The Broncos sit at 6-8 for the season and are fresh off a 17-16 loss at home to the Cleveland Browns. There is speculation that coach Vance Joseph will be let go after the season.
Losing to the Browns will do that to you.
On the other hand, the Raiders, despite being 3-11 on the season, have a head coach in the first year of a 10-year commitment.
Now, teams that are basically going in the same direction, but taking different approaches, play each other in what is expected to be the Raiders last game in the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders have been competitive at home of late, losing a close game to the first-place Chiefs three weeks ago and then beating the first-place Steelers two weeks ago.
Last week, the Raiders went on the road and played more like the Raiders we’ve seen most the season in a 30-16 road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos have a potent offense helmed by Case Keenum with prized rookie running back Phillip Lindsay leading the way. The Broncos are ranked 11th in rushing on the season and 18th overall on offense.
The Raiders, on the other hand, are giving up 29.9 points per game – their highest average since 1961. They are last against the run, meaning some large doses of carries for the rookie tandem of Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Offensively, the Raiders have had a resurgent running game led by Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. Quarterback Derek Carr continues to be error-free, having gone nine straight games without throwing an interception. He has been sacked, however, at least three times in seven straight games.
That lack of protection could lead to a big game by linebacker Von Miller, who has recorded sacks in nine straight games.
On Friday, the Raiders only had two players who did not participate in practice: defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and cornerback Daryl Worley. The Broncos had four players who didn’t participate in cornerback Brendan Langley, nose tackle Domata Peko, linebacker Shane Ray and tackle Jared Veldheer.
Despite the emotions of the Raiders playing most likely their final game in the Coliseum, the Broncos opened as a 3-point favorite. That line has stayed consistent. The total opened at 45 but has dropped to 43. Game time is 5:15 p.m. Monday – Christmas Eve.