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Horse Tracks: Raiders game is an early must-win game for the Broncos

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Good Morning Broncos Country!

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

The Broncos and Raiders are both coming off disappointing losses this past week. The Broncos were upset by the Buffalo Bills while the Raiders were embarrassed by Washington on Sunday Night Football. Now both teams are 2-1 and entering a game on Sunday that is in my opinion, a must-win game for both teams.

I say this because going 2-2 will drop one of these teams into third place and the other into second or even first place, depending the outcome of the Chiefs game. That’s digging yourself into an early hole in a tough division, especially if the Chiefs move to 4-0. So I believe this game between the Raiders is a must win for the Broncos.

To defeat the Raiders, and move to 3-1, the Broncos need to improve on their play from this past Sunday. They need Trevor Siemian to protect the ball better, move the offense, and put touchdowns, not field goals on the board for the Broncos offense. They also need to re-commit to the run game, and play a little better on defense than they did against the Bills. If they do that, they should have a good shot at defeating the Raiders, especially at home.

I’d much rather see the Broncos head into their very early bye with a 3-1 record with a big win over a hated division rival instead of entering their bye with back to back disappoint losses and in third place in the tough AFC West.

Horse Tracks:

Ford and Nike support player protest rights – ProFootballTalk
To the extent that those who oppose the ability of NFL players to peacefully protest during the national anthem hope to influence sponsors to pressure the league and the players, two major sponsors are standing firm. Via SportsBusiness Daily, Ford and Nike have issued statements of support.

Brent Urban out long-term with Lisfranc injury – ProFootballTalk
The Ravens defense will have to bounce back from their 44-7 loss to the Jaguars without the help of defensive end Brent Urban. Urban left Sunday's game in London with a foot injury and coach John Harbaugh gave a negative update on his condition Monday.

Packers say David Bakhtiari, Randall Cobb, Mike Daniels would have practiced Monday – ProFootballTalk
The advent of weekly games on Thursday night has led to the existence of the Monday practice report for teams that will be playing a few days later. Most teams in that position don't actually practice on Monday because they played a game on Sunday, which means the participation levels listed on t...

Vontaze Burfict is back – ProFootballTalk
His three-game suspension has ended; Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is back. The banishment, arising from a preseason hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman, ended after Sunday's loss to the Packers. Burfict rejoins the Bengals with a roster exemption that expires on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Chargers push back against perception of sluggish sales – ProFootballTalk
Much was made of the fact that the Chargers didn't individually introduce players during Sunday's home game against the Chiefs, with the implication being that Chargers fans were overwhelmed by Chiefs fans.

Patriots apologize for charging fans for tap water – ProFootballTalk
It was on Sunday in New England and elsewhere. The heat at Gillette Stadium resulted in a run on bottled water. After the bottled water was gone, tap water was provided. The only problem? Stadium workers charged $4.50 or $5 per cup.

Larry Fitzgerald moves into eighth all time in receiving yards – ProFootballTalk
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald moved into eighth place all time in receiving yards. He passed Marvin Harrison in the third quarter. Harrison had 14,580 yards. Next on the list for Fitzgerald is Steve Smith, who had 14,731 career yards.

Mike Mularkey: Richard Sherman’s late hit should have cost Seahawks – ProFootballTalk
Mike Mularkey called Richard Sherman's late hit on Marcus Mariota "unnecessary, totally unnecessary." Further, the Titans coach broached the idea of a rule change that automatically would penalize a team for a late hit to eliminate what happened Sunday to Tennessee in a 33-27 victory over the Seahaw...

Mike Pereira, Dean Blandino both say Von Miller penalty shouldn’t have been called – ProFootballTalk
The last two people to run the NFL's officiating department say they officials erred by handing Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller a costly taunting penalty on Sunday against the Bills.

Josh Norman rips Raiders receivers Cooper, Crabtree - NFL.com
After the Washington Redskins beat up Oakland Raiders receivers Sunday night, cornerback Josh Norman decided to unleash a verbal tirade on them as well. "Do not run your mouth," he said.

John Harbaugh has 'no reaction' to Jags' late fake punt - NFL.com
Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars were completely dominating the Baltimore Ravens, the Jags decided to run a fake punt late in the game. John Harbaugh said he had "no reaction" to it afterward.

Darren Sproles (ACL, broken arm) out for rest of season - NFL.com
The Eagles won a big game over the Giants on Sunday, but it came with a cost. Darren Sproles broke his arm and tore his ACL in the win. Pederson confirms the RB is out for the remainder of the season.

Injuries: Lavonte David (ankle) to miss a month or more - NFL.com
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without one of their star defenders for the next few weeks. NFL Network Insider reported linebacker Lavonte David will miss a month or more because of an ankle injury.

Von Miller: 'I killed the game' with that penalty vs. Bills - NFL.com
Broncos linebacker Von Miller's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty offset a crucial stop late in Denver's loss to the Bills. "I can't put my team in a situation like that. I've brought us home 50 million times."

Andrew Luck could return to Colts practice this week - NFL.com
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's path to the field is becoming clearer. Coach Chuck Pagano told reporters Luck could return to practice this week.