For the Denver Broncos (6-9), the year started out with a dud and a four game losing streak, but since then they have scraped and clawed their way to a 6-5 mark with three different starting quarterbacks. They now have a chance to end the season on a high note.
Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders (7-8) were once playoff contenders and sitting at 6-4. However, they went on a four game losing streak that they just snapped last week. There are still playoff hopes for them, so Denver could take that away from them as well.
In Week 1, the Raiders ran all over the Broncos front seven and dominated the line of scrimmage. They cannot allow that to happen again this week. Denver had issues early on in the season with stopping the run, but they were able to, briefly, become an elite run stopping unit during the middle of the season.
Unfortunately, the injury bug has swept the defensive line and it is once again a concern heading into the final game of the season. Can this deplete unit win the battles in the trenches on Sunday?
The Broncos offense is a completely different unit in Week 17 than it was in the first game. Drew Lock has stepped into the starting quarterback role and played really well. He has balanced the gunslinger attitude with the need to manage the game effectively.
“I think it just comes the mindset of taking what they give you the whole time, which is what we really started to preach before my first game and even into all these other games,” Lock said of balancing taking shots and managing the game. “I’m a gunslinger, but I’m going to be a gunslinger if the defense allows me to be. I don’t go into the game thinking, ‘Alright, I’m going to go chuck this thing around the yard and make big plays.’ If the defense allows me to be the gunslinger, it’s in me to bring out. But if the defense wants me to be a guy that checks down the field and we drive it 80 yards and take seven or eight minutes off the clock, then I can be that. I don’t think there’s an exact, perfect formula for me going into the game to think, ‘Alright, I’m going in gunslinger mode right now.’ It’s just whatever the defense is going to throw at us that day.”
That mentality has led to some big plays and more points being scored. And most importantly, a 3-1 record in his first four starts. If he can find success attacking a weak Raiders defense, then Denver could be on its way to a 7-5 finish since that 0-4 start.
Here is how to watch.
When: Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 2:25 p.m. Mile High time
Where: Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
Channel: CBS / Local
Announcers: Andrew Catalon (play-by-play) and James Lofton (analyst).
Local Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM
FuboTV (Available if being televised in your area)
NFL Game Pass (After the game)
Broncos injury report
|Mike Purcell||NT||Shoulder / Knee||FULL||FULL||FULL|
Raiders injury report
|Josh Jacobs||RB||Shoulder / Illness||DNP||DNP||DNP||DOUBTFUL|
|Lamarcus Joyner||DB||Calf / Quad||DNP||DNP||FULL|
|Trayvon Mullen||CB||Neck / Concussion||LIMITED||DNP||FULL|
|Tyrell Williams||WR||Foot||NOT LISTED||DNP||LIMITED|
The Broncos are barely home favorites over the Raiders with the line at 3.5-points. The public is betting heavily on the Raiders too, so hopefully that’ll mean a whole lot of sad Raider fans losing money on Sunday. If they don’t lose money, then hopefully they win money in a Raiders loss.
Denver has slowly chipped away at the massive hole they exited the 1960s with against the Raiders. By 1977, the Raiders had an all-time record of 26-6-2 against Denver. The Broncos are now just 12 games back with a 52-64-2 record against their hated rival and have a chance this week to bring it down one more game.
Confidence in the Denver Broncos has risen steadily since Drew Lock took over at quarterback. At 77% this week, we are seeing the third highest mark since January of this year and the second highest since Lock started his first game. The future is definitely looking brighter in Denver.
I can't unsee the 303 in this photo. pic.twitter.com/CKk04pskzQ— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 23, 2019
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On MHR Radio this week, Ian and Adam reviewed the Broncos 27-17 win over the Lions and how Drew Lock came back from behind to win that game.
Kevin Gillikin of Broncos & Bratwurst discussed the future of Drew Lock and what Denver needs to do this offseason to get better.
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Broncos 2019 regular season schedule
|1||Sep 9||at Raiders (MNF)||8:20 PM||ESPN||24-16 L||0-1|
|2||Sep 15||vs Bears||2:25 PM||FOX||16-14 L||0-2|
|3||Sep 22||at Packers||11:00 AM||FOX||27-16 L||0-3|
|4||Sep 29||vs Jaguars||2:25 PM||CBS||26-24 L||0-4|
|5||Oct. 6||at Chargers||2:05 PM||CBS||20-13 W||1-4|
|6||Oct 13||vs Titans||2:25 PM||CBS||16-0 W||2-4|
|7||Oct 17||vs Chiefs (TNF)||6:20 PM||NFLN||30-6 L||2-5|
|8||Oct 27||at Colts||11:00 AM||CBS||15-13 L||2-6|
|9||Nov 3||vs Browns||2:25 PM||CBS||24-19 W||3-6|
|11||Nov 17||at Vikings||11:00 AM||CBS||27-23 L||3-7|
|12||Nov 24||at Bills||11:00 AM||CBS||20-3 L||3-8|
|13||Dec 1||vs Chargers||2:25 PM||CBS||23-20 W||4-8|
|14||Dec 8||at Texans||11:00 AM||CBS||38-24 W||5-8|
|15||Dec 15||at Chiefs||11:00 AM||CBS||23-3 L||5-9|
|16||Dec 22||vs Lions||2:05 PM||CBS||27-17 W||6-9|
|17||Dec 29||vs Raiders||2:25 PM||CBS||16-15 W||7-9|