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Broncos 2017 opponent preview Weeks 4, 12: Oakland Raiders

The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders have seen a return of their bitter rivalry. Who will come out on top in 2017?

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

In Weeks 4 and 12 of the 2017 season, the Denver Broncos will face their archrival and now AFC West contender, Oakland Raiders. This is a series the Broncos must split if they hope to challenge the Raiders or the Kansas City Chiefs for the division title in 2017.

The good news is the Raiders sealed their long-term fate by giving Jack Del Rio a four-year extension. In his eleven years as head coach, he has never led a team to back to back playoff runs. I am personally banking on his streak to continue in 2017.

All-time series: Raiders lead 62-51-2, but 30-13 in favor of Broncos since 1995.

Raiders free agency

Key additions: Jared Cook, Marshall Newhouse, Cordarrelle Patterson, EJ Manuel

Key losses: Nate Allen, Daren Bates, DJ Hayden, Andre Holmes, Stacy McGee, Latavius Murray, Menelik Watson

The Raiders experienced more subtraction than addition during free agency, losing several starters while bringing in mostly reserve players to fill those roles. The biggest move was exercising Khalil Mack’s fifth-year option, which was the biggest no brainer move for this franchise in 2017.

Raiders 2017 draft class

Instead, the Raiders replaced their lost starters with draft picks. This is a good idea long-term, but rookies rarely come out and make an impact in year one. Having Gareon Conley fall of them late in the first-round was a gift and could end up being an elite player.

The rest of their draft class, much like most of the NFL’s draft picks in 2017, is a “wait and see” kind of thing. Overall, I think they drafted fairly well given their start position.

Raiders draft picks

Rnd Player Pos. College
Rnd Player Pos. College
1 Gareon Conley CB Ohio State
2 Obi Melifonwu S Connecticut
3 Eddie Vanderdoes DT UCLA
4 David Sharpe OT Florida
5 Marquel Lee LB Wake Forest
7 Shalom Lauani S Washington State
7 Jylan Ware OT Alabama State
7 Elijah Hood RB North Carolina
7 Treyvon Hester DT Toledo

Way too early predictions

Week 4: Broncos 28, Raiders 17
Week 12: Raiders 27, Broncos 20

Surprisingly, these teams do not tend to play tight, close games. In their last 14 matchups, just three games have been decided by a touchdown or less. And two of those came during the Broncos 2015 Super Bowl run.

That said, these two teams are fairly close in terms of talent with the Broncos having a significant edge on the defensive side of the ball and the Raiders with a significant edge on the offense side of the ball.

If the Broncos can close the game with solid offensive line play and good quarterback decisions that attacks more than two sides of the field, we could see Denver become a sneaky good team in 2017. For now, I’ll hold back the optimism and regress back to the mean with a series split between these archrivals.

Broncos 2017 predictions

Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) Predictions
Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) Predictions
1 Sep 11 vs. Los Angeles Chargers (MNF) 8:20 PM Broncos 24-10
2 Sep 17 vs. Dallas Cowboys 2:25 PM Cowboys 23-21
3 Sep 24 at Buffalo Bills 11:00 AM Broncos 27-10
4 Oct 1 vs. Oakland Raiders 2:25 PM Broncos 28-17
6 Oct 15 vs. New York Giants (SNF) 6:30 PM Broncos 23-16
7 Oct 22 at Los Angeles Chargers 2:25 PM Broncos 20-17
8 Oct 30 at Kansas City Cheifs (MNF) 6:30 PM
9 Nov 5 at Philadelphia Eagles 11:00 AM
10 Nov 12 vs. New England Patriots (SNF) 6:25 PM
11 Nov 19 vs. Cincinnati Bengals 2:25 PM
12 Nov 26 at Oakland Raiders 2:25 PM Raiders 27-20
13 Dec 3 at Miami Dolphins 11:00 AM
14 Dec 10 vs. New York Jets 2:00 PM
15 Dec 14 at Indianapolis Colts (TNF) 6:25 PM
16 Dec 24 at Washington Redskins 11:00 AM
17 Dec 31 vs. Kansas City Chiefs 2:25 PM