The Denver Broncos will be without one of their top defenders Sunday when they take on the Oakland Raiders, as cornerback Aqib Talib has reportedly been ruled out of the game.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) November 4, 2016
Denver was without Talib last week against the San Diego Chargers and effectively dominated Philip Rivers and Co. en route to a 27-19 win. Rivers was picked off three times by the Talib-less No Fly Zone and had one of his interceptions returned for a touchdown.
However, it would be a bit naive to think the Broncos can have that kind of success against Oakland this weekend. For one thing, they’re hitting the road instead of playing in front of their rabid fans in Denver. And on top of that, Derek Carr has significantly more dangerous weapons to work with than Rivers does right now.
It’s going to be fascinating to see the young gunslinger work against Denver’s outstanding pass defense. He’s got a couple of aces in the hole in receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who’ve combined to catch 99 passes for 1,356 yards and eight touchdowns.
This game takes on a bit of extra intrigue when you consider the winning team will take the division lead (more on that here). Both the Raiders and Broncos enter Week 9 with records o 6-2, and it appears they could be battling for the divisional crown the entire season.
Needless to say, taking on such an important battle without one of their top stars isn’t ideal for the Broncos.