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Broncos vs Raiders preview: Denver’s offense needs a strong start

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The offense can set the tone for Monday night’s game and in the process fire up Von Miller and the defense.

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On Sept. 9, 2012, Peyton Manning made his debut with the Denver Broncos.

Fast forward seven years, and on Sept. 9, 2019, Joe Flacco will make his debut for the Broncos. You got to love how those aspects play out like that. Will Flacco’s entrance to Broncos Country be as spectacular as Manning’s?

At the very least, the longest preseason ever is finally over. But to make it just a skosh longer, the NFL decided to put Denver in the final regular-season opener. Thanks, schedule makers. In all seriousness, real football is here. No more speculation on the roster or depth chart, it’s time to smash helmets and beat the shit out of the Oakland Raiders.

On the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), Adam Malnati and I gave our keys to the game and players to watch, and also made some season predictions. Before we get to the MHR staff keys to the game, here’s where rankings will go and some brief history on the matchup.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: n/a

Oakland: n/a

Defense Rankings

Denver: n/a

Oakland: n/a

Series history

  • Monday serves as the 118th meeting between the Broncos and the Raiders. Denver is 52-63-2 (Home: 27-29-2 / Away: 25-34-0).
  • The first game in the series was Oct. 2, 1960, at then-Bears Stadium in Denver. The Broncos won 31-14. The most recent game was last season in Oakland when the Raiders won 27-14.
  • Denver is appearing on Monday Night Football for a NFL-record tying 28th season. The Broncos have played MNF every season since 1992, and it’s the 74th time overall. That ties the Raiders, who did it from 1970-97. Denver is 32-40-1 in games played on Monday Night Football — 8-28 on the road.
  • Monday serves as the 19th game between the two teams on MNF. The Broncos are 9-8-1 in those games; 2-3 on the road.

Now to our keys to the game.

Strong start

Flacco and the Broncos offense needs to come out and move the ball like they did in both preseason games they played. Only on Monday night, cap it off with a touchdown. And then when Denver gets the ball for its next drive, get another touchdown. Punch the Raiders in the mouth and then kick them in the nuts. — Ian St. Clair

Score touchdowns

The first-team offense seemed to move the ball well, but consistently came up short converting those drives into touchdowns. That has to be overcome if the Denver Broncos are to start out strong with a road win against their AFC West rival in the Oakland Raiders. I expect the defense to dominate, but we could end up in a low-scoring affair that could go either way at the end. — Tim Lynch

Score more points

Thanks, Captain Obvious. — Scotty Payne

Dominate on defense

If this team is going to do anything this year that looks like a playoff bid or anything close to it, it is going to be done with the defense being amazing. Vic Fangio is a genius. He has all of the ingredients ... all the tomatoes, all the pasta, all the seasonings for a great defense. Now can he pull it off and make the Raiders look silly? He needs to while the offense gets its feet underneath it. — sadaraine

Out coach Chucky

The first game is always ugly and is all about good coaching, defense and the running game. If the Broncos win two out of three of those categories it’ll be a win. Be confident that the Denver defense will be better but a first-time coach and a questionable run blocking offensive line will determine the game and very likely the season for the Broncos. — Kevin Gillikin

Third-down offense

Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is one of the more creative blitzers in the league, and Flacco will need to show he can identify who’s really coming and where the holes in the coverage are. I expect the defense to do their part against an overmatched offensive line, but it won’t matter if the offense gets stuck in the mud. — Just_JoRo

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What do you want to see from the Broncos Monday night opener?