The Denver Broncos (3-7) are tossing in the towel for the 2017 season and starting Paxton Lynch for the rest of the year. The Oakland Raiders (4-6) are on the verge of their own towel-ending season and it sure would be nice to finish packing their bags for them.
Collectively, the staff is not overly optimistic, but at least are predicting a close score with the Raiders beating the Broncos 20-19. Here is how we predict things individually.
Broncos 20, Raiders 16
The Broncos are going to play with some fire in the bellies against the Raiders and come out with an amazing win on the road to snap their six-game winning streak. Paxton Lynch will be fairly average, but a strong running game and great defense turns things around. - Tim Lynch
Afterwards, Broncos Country will be like:
Raiders 20, Broncos 17
The switch to Paxton Lynch is not about winning. Don’t expect things to get better as far as the record. This is about seeing what Lynch can do for the offense, and nothing more. And as this is start number one, don’t anticipate a lot of points. Look for both sides of the ball to make some improvements, but it won’t be enough. - Adam Malnati
Raiders 24, Broncos 17
There was a time when the Broncos went out on the road in the division everyone knew they would win. It seems like ages ago Denver won 15 straight games on the road in the AFC West. Now? The Broncos have lost five straight and are about to lose their sixth (that’s two seasons, FWIW). Denver hasn’t won a road game in the AFC West since Peyton Manning retired. There is excitement over the switch to Lynch but as Adam said don’t expect any changes in results. - Ian St. Clair
Raiders 23, Broncos 20
It's been a minute since the Denver Broncos have won a road game in the AFC West and I don't expect that to change this Sunday when they attempt to beat the Oakland Raiders in the Black Hole. While many are optimistic about Paxton Lynch's ability to grow with Bill Musgrave calling the shots -- one week of preparation won't be enough to magically fix the issues the offense has had all season long. It should be a fairly close game, but one the Broncos lose, helping them inch closer to solidifying a top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. - Christopher Hart
Broncos 19, Raiders 16
Why do I predict a win? Because the universe in 2017 is categorically stacked against the Broncos. In a lost season where the only silver lining is great 2018 draft position, I know that the Broncos will dig deep and destroy all hope for getting a top-two pick. Screw it. It’s worth the bragging rights to say that one of the worst Broncos teams of all time still swept Oakland and put the long-shot possibility of the Raiders making the playoffs further out of reach. The Raiders must always lose. No matter what. - Jess Place
Bonus from Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann: I predict three fights, only one of them between Broncos and Raiders; two sacks for Von Miller; one TD for Paxton Lynch; and 0 GMs held accountable for the lost potential on the field.