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Raiders vs Broncos will have playoff implications

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

If you were thinking the Broncos will be sitting their starters Sunday against the Raiders because they have nothing to play for, think again. The Broncos will very need to win this game for their playoff well-being and will not be putting their backups in the game.

There is not question the Broncos are in the playoffs. But where they are seeded is still hanging in the balance. And it won't be decided prior to their game is completed with the Raiders.

Currently the Broncos sit with the number two seed behind the Patriots which would give them a first week bye and home field in at least their playoff opening game. If they beat the Raiders, that spot is safe. But if they lose to the Raiders, they could drop to the third see which would mean they have to play in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

That will be decided Sunday night when the Bengals face the Steelers. If the Steelers win, the Broncos retain the number two seed regardless. If the Bengals win and the Broncos lose, that would drop the Broncos to third where they would face either the Ravens, Texans or the Chargers or Chiefs for the third time this season.

To ensure the Bengals game is meaningless, the Broncos must win. And it is the Raiders -- who have played playoff spoiler several times already this season -- stand in their way. And the Raiders would like nothing more than to stick it to the Broncos on their home field and make them sweat out the Sunday night as Steelers fans to try and avoid having to play an extra playoff game.

This one will mean a great deal to both of these teams.

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