On Sunday, the Las Vegas Raiders will battle the Denver Broncos for the second and final time this season. Both teams enter this game with losing records as the Raiders are 2-7 and the Broncos are 3-6.
The last time these two teams faced off, Las Vegas took down Denver, 32-23 at Allegiant Stadium on Oct. 2. In that game, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs carried the ball 28 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns and cornerback Amik Robertson recovered a fumble and took it to the endzone.
Since then, there have been some changes on both sides as the Broncos do not have running back Javontae Williams, who is out with a torn ACL, and pass rusher Bradley Chubb was sent to Miami before the NFL trade deadline.
On the other side, since the two teams squared off seven weeks ago, the Raiders will not have tight end, Darren Waller, as he was put on Injured reserve last week. In addition, cornerbacks Nate Hobbs and linebacker Divine Deablo found themselves added to the injured reserve list over the last couple of weeks as well.
With injuries riddling both sides, we make four bold predictions for the Las Vegas Raiders versus Denver Broncos game in Week 11.
Chandler Jones wakes up horrid Las Vegas Raiders slump
Against the Broncos last month, one of the Raiders’ two premiere EDGE rushers was getting to Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. That was Maxx Crosby, who recorded two sacks and four tackles for loss. So far this season, Crosby has seven of the team’s 10 sacks.
Big ticket free agent addition Chandler Jones only has a 0.5 sack this season. Outside of 2020 when he played five games and recorded a sack, Jones has recorded seven or more sacks in the last 10 seasons. One thing going for Jones and the Raiders this week is that the Denver O-line has allowed 30 sacks, which is the sixth-most in the league this season.
Josh Jacobs will break out again in Week 11
The Raiders must get Josh Jacobs going once again. In Las Vegas’s three-game stretch where they won two and lost to Kansas City, Jacobs’ rush totals were notable:
- Week 4 vs Denver: 28 carries, 144 yards, 2 TDs, 5.14 yards per carry
- Week 5 @ Kansas City: 21 carries, 154 yards 1 TD, 7.33 yards per carry
- Week 7 vs. Houston: 20 carries, 143 yards 3 TDs. 7.15 yards per carry
Jacobs said recently that the Broncos’ defense has changed since the last time these two teams played. “They have a lot of different guys on defense that’s playing a lot of different roles,” he said Wednesday. “So, when they come into certain personnel, it’s different guys in different spots. They’re a little more aggressive now, so it’s definitely a different scene.”
A big part of Jacobs’ success is a result of the production of the offensive line, tight ends, full back, and receivers to block and open up gaps. If the Raiders’ O-line is able to control the line of scrimmage, Jacobs has the opportunity to lead Las Vegas to its third consecutive victory in Denver.
Davante Adams needs to beat Pat Surtain II (again)
One of the best matchups in this game is receiver Davante Adams going up against Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II. In the most recent matchup, Adams and Surtain II went head-to-head. In total, the two-time All-Pro receiver caught nine passes on 13 targets for 101 yards. Surtain II did not come up empty in that game as he had a couple of pass deflections.
After that matchup, Adams recognized the 2021 first-round pick has serious talent after their game earlier this year. “He’s a good player,” he said of Surtain following Week 4. “He’s a good player, that was my first time going up against him. I got a lot of respect for what he can do.”
The No. 3 will prove pivotal on Sunday
The number three can be used on both sides of the ball. Offensively, quarterback Derek Carr has not thrown 3 touchdown passes since Dec. 6, 2020, on the east coast against the New York Jets.
This week, it will be a tough task for Carr to put up three touchdowns as the Broncos allow 16.6 points per game, the fewest in the league, but as this team has progressed through the season, the Raiders are just a couple of plays from having a better record than the Broncos.
Defensively, the Raiders are last in the NFL with six takeaways (three interceptions and fumbles each). Getting three takeaways against the Broncos against Willson and the offense would be pivotal, especially when the Raiders have lost six of their seven games by one possession.
If the Raiders win the takeaway margin by two on Sunday, they would be back in the green as they have allowed seven giveaways.