With the final week of the regular season at stake, our staff at Silver and Black Today provide their predictions for the Raiders vs. Broncos Week 17 contest.
The Las Vegas Raiders won’t be playing for a spot in the playoffs this Sunday as they’ve been mathematically eliminated. But what they will be playing for is heart, development from their young nucleus, and a final showing by the defense under current interim defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Raiders vs. Broncos is always a heated affair and Sunday shouldn’t be any different.
The Broncos, however, also don’t have much at stake. They’ll be playing to provide the coaching staff with a further look at player evaluations moving into next season. Is Drew Lock the future at quarterback? Will Justin Simmons be signed to a contract extension? What kind of depth do the Broncos have at cornerback?
Friday’s injury report indicates the Raiders will get a few players back after missing time in recent outings. However, offensive tackle Trent Brown (knee) is listed as out. Whereas offensive guard Denzelle Good (ankle), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (calf) and safety Lamarcus Joyner (thigh) are questionable for the Week 17 finale.
Denver’s status for Sunday’s game includes a handful of key players who are battling injuries but are expected to play. The Broncos will be without wide receiver KJ Hamler (concussion) as he’s listed as out. Though, linebackers Bradley Chubb (ankle) and Anthony Chickillo (ribs), safety Trey Marshall (quadricep), running back LeVante Bellamy (ankle) and offensive guard Graham Glasgow (shoulder) are questionable for Sunday’s action.
Here are our staff predictions ahead of Sunday’s Raiders vs. Broncos Week 17 matchup at Mile High:
Maurice Moton, Sr. NFL Columnist
Although this seems like a meaningless game on the surface, coach Jon Gruden and his players have all talked about the importance of finishing the 2020 season on a strong note. They’re trying to snap a three-game skid. This isn’t the same squad that forced five turnovers in the first meeting with the Denver Broncos, but the Raiders have the pieces to finish with a victory. Las Vegas won’t dominate its opponent at Mile High, but Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker should have strong performances against the Broncos’ 26th-ranked run defense. Darren Waller could break Tim Brown’s franchise reception record (104), so expect Gruden to get him the ball early and often. Raiders go out with a win to finish 8-8. Raiders 31, Broncos 27
Nick Cothrel, Staff Writer
The back half of the Raiders season has been quite discouraging to say the least. While their playoff hopes have been wiped away, playing buttoned-up football to close out their season is much needed for a squad that has dropped five of their last six games. The Raiders’ red zone flaws, inconsistent defense and lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks are all things that should be evaluated closely as they cap off the season finale and turn the page to the offseason. I think Derek Carr finishes his strong campaign with an exclamation point as the Raiders end their season on a positive note. Raiders 34, Broncos 24
Noah Strang, Staff Writer
The Raiders visit the Broncos to finish off this season which has come to a disappointing close. The team has been dreadful on both sides of the ball in recent weeks and they are hobbling to the finish line. Still, they dominated the Broncos earlier in the season and it isn’t like they have nothing to play for. Darren Waller is close to breaking a franchise record and I expect him to continue his superb play. I think Derek Carr has a solid game and the defense forces at least two turnovers in a winning fashion. Raiders 31 Broncos 20
David Stepanian, Producer
After back-to-back heartbreaking losses that forced the Raiders out of the playoff picture, we have a game that doesn’t mean much other than a good old fashioned AFC West rivalry. After a blowout at Allegiant Stadium in November and losses in four of Denver’s last five games, the Silver & Black will look to end the season on a high note and avoid a losing record for the fourth consecutive season. Also, Josh Jacobs has a chance to break 1,000 rushing yards on the year against a Denver rush defense that ranks near the bottom of the league. I still can’t help but think quarterback Drew Lock will look to bounce back against a weak Raiders’ defense to keep it close. Raiders 28, Broncos 24
Scott Gulbransen, Founder/Publisher
There’s nothing we’ve seen over the past six weeks to convince you the Raiders vs. Broncos would change the Silver and Black’s current trajectory. Yet, this team has never quit, and going out with a win is something I believe is important to the organization. The first year in Las Vegas has not gone according to plan and the team badly needs to end on an uplifting note. I think the Raiders offense behind Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller get it done and finish the season at 8-8. Raiders 30, Broncos 20