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Broncos vs Raiders preview: Denver looks to end season with winning record

The Broncos can finish with their first winning record since 2016 with a win on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The AFC Playoffs are not a possibility.

But that doesn’t mean the Denver Broncos don’t have something to play for. With a win on Sunday over the hated Las Vegas Raiders, the Broncos can finish the season with a winning record.

Denver would finish the season 9-8 and have their first record above .500 since 2016. For a franchise searing for wins, this can help the shift the culture even more.

DraftKings Sportsbook doesn’t think Denver will get it done. The Broncos are a slight underdog to Las Vegas. The total sits at 39.5. The over has now hit in back-to-back games. That happening again seems unlikely. The total sits at 38. The under is the safe play on Sunday.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-sixth in overall offense (299.1 yards per game), 17th in rushing offense (88.3 YPG), 26th in passing offense (189.0 YPG), tied for 17th in scoring offense (21.4 points per game).

Raiders: Twenty-ninth in overall offense (285.2 yards per game), 30th in rushing offense (95.9 YPG), 23rd in passing offense (196.9 YPG), 26th in scoring offense (19.0 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Thirtieth in total defense (371.5 yards per game), 31st in rushing defense (137.6 YPG), tied for 22nd in passing defense (233.9 YPG), tied for 25th in scoring defense (24.1 points per game).

Raiders: Eighteenth in total defense (333.7 yards per game), 22nd in rushing defense (122.9 YPG), 10th in passing defense (210.8 YPG), eighth in scoring defense (19.8 points per game).

Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.

Control the line scrimmage on both sides of the ball

The evergreen, cliche key to the game, but it’s especially true on Sunday. The Broncos need to keep Maxx Crosby off Jarrett Stidham and the Denver defense needs to consistently pressure Aidan O’Connell. If the Broncos lose the line scrimmage, they lose the game. — Ian St. Clair

Don’t turn the ball over

In what feels like a first in my memory, the Raiders defense has been playing great football over the last couple of months. Knowing that offensive production may be limited by that anyway, this Broncos team cannot cough up easy scoring opportunities for the Raiders. — Taylor Kothe

Where’s the spark?

You benched Russell Wilson, so time to put up or shut up on the road against the hated Las Vegas Raiders. Go put up some points and win the damn game. I’d love to see Denver finish with a winning record in the AFC West for the first time since 2015. Also, 9-8 would be cool. — Tim Lynch

Score more than 21 points

The Raiders offense is bad (29th in scoring if you remove the 63 point anomaly). So the Bronco defense should be able to hold them to less than 20. That means that offense is going to have to do more than they were able to do on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers in Denver. — Joe Mahoney

Run the ball effectively

That’s been an issue recently. Javonte Williams has been the subject of some questions regarding his play and whether or not he can be the Angry Runs candidate he was prior to his injury. It shouldn’t all rest on his shoulders, but if it isn’t going to be him, someone has to step up and carry the load. — Adam Malnati

Force turnovers on defense

Creating turnovers was the primary recipe for Denver’s success in their winning streak this season. They will need to get back to that in order to win on the road in Las Vegas. The Raiders are middle-of-the-pack in the league turning the ball over. Getting pressure on Aidan O’Connell will be critical to make this happen. He hasn’t thrown an interception in the past three weeks and has had two good games in that time span. Vance Joseph’s defense making a statement in the final game would help the Broncos secure their first winning season since 2016. — Christopher Hart

Step up

It was great to see the WR corps step up with the absences of Sutton and Mims! The TD of Lil’Jordan Humphrey was a spark, but not the one the HC was aiming for. For the last game, we should see more of these! Hopefully JJ can have a breakthrough game. — Ivan Talavera

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?