Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Broncos Wire


FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Broncos – Week 16

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (7-7) | Denver Broncos (7-7)


The Las Vegas Raiders return home to battle the Denver Broncos in an AFC West showdown to see who’s playoff hopes might still be alive.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders picked up a much-needed win on the road against the Cleveland Browns, keeping their postseason hopes alive. They battle a familiar foe in AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos, to see if those hopes remain alive or if it all comes to an end.

Both AFC West teams are 7-7 looking to stay in the race for one of the final playoff spots in the conference. So it’s another must-win for the Silver & Black.

The Raiders have won their last three games against the Broncos, and in each victory, they scored over 30 points (37-12, 32-31, 34-24). The Raiders have also won their last five home games against Denver (2016-2019 in Oakland, 2020 in Las Vegas).


Despite the ups and downs of the season, the Raiders still have an outside chance of making the playoffs.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

With three games remaining, the Raiders must win out to keep their hopes of making the postseason alive. With all that has gone on with this organization, on and off the field, it’s remarkable they still have a chance at making the playoffs. This shows that despite some of the holes and shortcomings, this team has the talent to be competitive and contend. It’s just a matter of finding the right chemistry that’ll provide consistent effort week to week.

Quarterback Derek Carr who had another game-winning drive, looks to keep the team fired up and ready to go from start to finish. Carr, who’s second in the NFL in passing yards (4,162), has found a new target in wide receiver Zay Jones, who in the last four games has 19 catches on 28 targets. While he hasn’t seen the end zone since his game-winner in week one against the Ravens, Jones has been a consistent target for Carr to aim for after star tight end Darren Waller suffered a knee injury against Dallas.

The overwhelming top target is still Hunter Renfrow, who leads the team in catches (89), yards (909), and touchdowns (5). But the former Clemson Tiger can’t do it all himself, so to see Jones take advantage and step up to the challenge has been a breath of fresh air.

The team needs to start the game focused and aggressive, as we saw against the Browns, drop passes, muffed punts, a total lack of focus. The Raiders are in no position to overlook any team nor come in thinking this will be an easy win. With their success against Denver in recent years, they need to make a statement and shut this one down early. Don’t play clock management, don’t try to be conservative and play it safe, allow Carr to let it rip downfield, get players such as Renfrow, Jones, Bryan Edwards, DeSean Jackson, Foster Moreau making plays more than five yards from the line of scrimmage.

The offensive line has had its struggles opening up run lanes for Josh Jacobs, so the Raiders are using him in more the passing game as well as he’s shown to have reliable hands. With Jacobs’ running abilities, he needs to be given a chance to make plays.

As stated earlier, with all that this team has been through in the 2021 season, still being in the playoff hunt speaks volumes to where this can be in short order. But they have to find a way to be consistent, stay aggressive, attack, and play to their strengths. When the Raiders have done these things, victory is usually the outcome. When they choose to remain conservative, manage the clock, let us keep it simple, not take any risks, and play “smart football,” defeat is generally the outcome.

This team has talent across the board to play with anyone on any given Sunday, but if not used correctly, they may find themselves falling short once again of what could’ve been, which is a story all too familiar to Raider Nation.


The Raiders defense needs to be the hammer to put the final nail in their opponents’ coffin.


Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The defensive unit did a tremendous job against the rushing attack of the Browns. Nick Chubb had 91 rushing yards, but the Browns were held under 100 for the game, which was a massive factor in why the Raiders were able to leave Cleveland with a win. They will need to step up once again against the Broncos if they are to be winners in back-to-back weeks.

The Broncos will have backup quarterback Drew Lock in for Teddy Bridgewater who suffered a concussion last week. Given Lock’s struggles through his career, the Broncos may try to settle on a heavy rushing attack led by running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams.

The Raiders will be short-handed as safety/linebacker hybrid Johnathan Abram suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Browns and had season-ending surgery. Fortunately, they saw impressive play from another safety-turned linebacker in rookie Divine Deablo who has seen more and more playing time in recent weeks and has stepped up in his production. Missing Abram will be huge in the run department but seeing the play of Deablo is encouraging and should continue for the remaining three games of the season.

The Raiders defensive unit has two Pro Bowlers on it, as defensive end Maxx Crosby and linebacker Denzel Perryman were selected for the first time in their careers. Crosby will be a starter and Perryman a backup. Mad Maxx who was a fourth-round pick for the Raiders in 2019 has been a shining star for the Silver & Black in his three years with the team. Perryman who spent six seasons with the Chargers before signing as a free agent has seen a rejuvenation in his career as he is one of the league’s top tacklers. Both have been amazing to watch week after week and are always making eye-popping plays. To see their hard work and effort rewarded is a great thing.

The Raiders already have replaced starting members on their offensive line, their head coach, their starting wide receiver, and possibly their stud tight end. To overcome the obstacles this season is a lot to ask of any team, but the season must go on, and the team must still play games. They must continue to find ways to focus, prepare, and attack the task at hand. COVID-19 protocols and injuries make this a challenging game to call. Nevertheless, it’s now or never for both teams in this 2021 season. It’s all but “win or go home.”  The Raiders need to remember the mantra and follow it by any means necessary for the remainder of the season.

Just Win Baby


The Raiders and Broncos play Sunday at 1:25 pm at Allegiant Stadium and can be seen on CBS.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Kalani on Twitter @klua11

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