There have been those who think the Broncos have nothing to play for this Sunday when they come to Oakland. The thinking is that since the game doesn't mean anything to them and therefore they will rest their starters. Most importantly, that they would rest Peyton Manning. That is not the case.
The Broncos are still fighting to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They need to beat the Raiders to secure that spot so you can expect to see Peyton Manning in this game at least and until they feel like the game is well in hand.
Peyton Manning set a new single season passing touchdown record last week when he threw his 51st touchdown pass. While he won't be celebrating that record on the Raiders home field, there are a few other records well within his reach Sunday.
The Broncos need to score just 18 points to score the most points in a season on NFL history. In addition, Peyton Manning needs just 266 passing yards for the most in NFL history.
As far as Raiders futility records, the defense is just 3 touchdown passes away from setting a new franchise record for TD passes given up in a season. The current record is 31 which was set in 2011.
All of these records are not just within reach, but are downright likely to happen on Sunday. The only question will be whether they can all be reached them by half time.
Making matters worse for the Raiders is the possibility of both starting cornerbacks not playing. Tracy Porter (hip) and Mike Jenkins (hamstring) are banged up and questionable for the game. If they can't go, the Raiders starting corners will be Chimdi Chekwa and Phillip Adams with Chance Casey playing the nickel and Taiwan Jones as the only corner off the bench. That's a recipe for an all out aerial assault by the Broncos.
I'm not trying to be a downer here. It's just important you understand the Broncos have no reason to go conservative or put it into cruise control looking toward the playoffs.
The Raiders aren't just going to roll over either. They have pride to play for along with the last impression for many of the players on this roster whose contracts are up after this season. They too have a couple records that could be within reach.
Terrelle Pryor is just three rushing yards away from setting a new Raiders franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season. Rich Gannon set the current record when he ran for 529 yards in the 2000 season.
Rod Streater needs 152 yards receiving to become the Raiders' first 1000-yard receiver since Randy Moss had 1005 in 2005. It would take a career best performance by Streater to do it. His current career best is 130 yards which he posted in week 14 of this season against the Jets.
This game is important to both teams so you can expect to see each team leave it on the field Sunday.