Wow, what a wild season! After eight weeks of the season in the books we come back to where it all started....playing the Oakland Raiders. I wrote a fanpost before our first game called "Renewing the Rivalry" where I talked about how our Broncos and how some of us fans have not taken the Raiders very seriously for the last several years. Once the game happened, we saw that Denver had a number of chances to win, but penalties, fumbles, a poor run defense and horrible red zone play where we settled for FG instead of TDs cost Denver a chance at starting 1-0. Kyle Orton was the starting QB that night and dropped a ball during a play that would have potentially scored a TD. Eric Decker scored on a punt return to get the Broncos back in the game. It was at least it was close unlike 2010, but it was still a loss.
My how things have changed since that night. Kyle Orton was booed, called a "Tin Man" (I'll take credit for that one) and played his way to the bench. Tim Tebow has taken over the helm as the starter to controversial results. His play is best described as rough and ugly. He caught fire in the last five minutes against the Dolphins, but was awful against the Lions. Overall the Lion game was easily the ugliest game this year. Denver is not the only team to deal with changes. Oakland has had some major events since that night. While they are 4-3, they have endured the loss of Jason Campbell (broken collarbone), the death of Al Davis and trading a lot of their future for Carson Palmer.
I think it is easy to say that this is a MUST WIN game for the Broncos. Right now, the team overall is not very good and they will have to play a perfect game to win this Sunday. My hope is that Denver will come out angry and play with some purpose. Oakland only responds when you are hitting them hard and flustering them. Make them draw the penalties instead of the Broncos. Denver must close off the run on order to succeed. By forcing the Raiders into 3rd and long situations, the defense can pin their ears back and come at Palmer. On offense, the OL is the biggest key to gaining victory. Oakland's front seven are one of the best in the NFL and are going to come after Tebow. As of right now, Denver is limited in the RB stable and the OL as a group will have to play lights out to keep Tebow clean and get some sort of holes for Lance Ball and Moreno to run through.
I'm looking forward to watching the game this Sunday. As bad as the team has played, when you watch a Denver/Oakland match-up all records are thrown out. This will be the typical AFC West slugfest again. I have noticed that some Raider fans are starting to pity our lowly Broncos. Let them do it at their own peril. All I ask for is to see Denver show some toughness, punch the Raiders in the mouth and ruin their season.
As always, GO BRONCOS!