The Sean Payton era is officially here.
Not only will Payton and Denver look to start the season off with a win, they’ll look to end their six-game losing streak to their divisional rivals in the process.
In a mild surprise, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos as the favorite over Las Vegas. Part of that is from Denver playing at home, Payton is now the head coach and the Raiders are not expected to be very good this season. Still, you can’t discount the six-game losing streak.
As for the total, DraftKings has that at 44. While this is a new season and a completely different team, the under was the definite safe bet last year. The biggest factor in that is Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense. Can that unit finally move the ball, get sustained drives and score touchdowns in the red zone?
Las Vegas: N/A
Las Vegas: N/A
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Just win, baby!
It doesn’t matter how Payton and the Broncos win on Sunday, they need to win on Sunday. However they need to do it and whatever it takes. Start the season off, start the Payton era off, with a win over the Raiders. Given Denver hasn’t beaten their rivals in six games, Broncos Country can’t exactly be picky. Come prepared. Don’t make mistakes. Do your job. Win the game. I think that pretty much takes care of the game.
As for a specific key to this game, the Broncos need to block Maxx Crosby. The Las Vegas defense isn’t very good, but Crosby is. Denver must ensure Crosby doesn’t change Sunday’s game. — Ian St. Clair
Stop Josh Jacobs
One of the biggest keys to this game is the Broncos stopping Josh Jacobs. Jacobs has rushed for 732 yards and 9 touchdowns in seven career games against Denver. Sean Payton has talked all off-season about establishing the run and stopping the run. Limiting Jacobs’ impact is a must if the Broncos want to be victorious against the Raiders this weekend. — Christopher Hart
Control the temp of the game
Get the offense running the ball and force the Raiders outside of their comfort zone. Being steady with the football throughout the game will give the Broncos the ability to control the clock, and keep Russell Wilson from having to do too much to win the game. Just manage baby! — Adam Malnati
Broncos must win in the trenches
This game will be won or lost in the trenches. The O-line needs to protect Russell Wilson and provide lanes for the running game to pound the Raiders into submission. The D-line needs to stop Josh Jacobs and also make Jimmy G. uncomfortable (the latter should be relatively easy). If those two units do their jobs, I know we can trust Sean Payton to have a good game plan in order. And then it will just come down to the offense executing. Easy, right? — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Show us what you got Payton
The Broncos’ offense has been a certifiable joke for many seasons now. Show us you are going to turn that clown show into the main event worth the top billing that Broncos Country hopes to finally see on Sunday. Score early, score often. And bury that smug-faced Josh McDaniels in the process! — Tim Lynch