The Oakland Raiders are very fortunate to still have a game that means something. They looked unprepared for their first game of the stretch run against the New England Patriots. Thanks to some losses in the AFC, the Raiders are still in the playoff hunt and they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent and circumstances this week in order to capitalize on it.
They are at home against the Denver Broncos; losers of six straight, leading to some shakeup on offense. They fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and have quarterback Paxton Lynch -- who has played in only three NFL games -- making his first start at quarterback in 2017. So their inner turmoil matches that of the 4-6 Raiders have after firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph grew tired of watching an ineffective Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler under center. He probably sees the Raiders as the perfect team for their former first-round pick QB to make his 2017 debut against after the Raiders last two games in which they made Jay Cutler look like Dan Marino Tom Brady even better than usual.
“I thought with the coordinator change going to Billy and where we are as an offense, it was the perfect time,” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said of starting Lynch. “Paxton just got back about three weeks ago so he’s totally healthy now, so I thought it was the perfect time to insert Paxton. . . He’s a first-round pick. He’s got talent, so it’s going to be fun to see where he’s at and also have a chance to win a football game on Sunday.”
The Broncos aren’t great in pass protection either with 31 sacks given up so far — 8th most in the NFL. It’s an opportunity for Khalil Mack, but the Raiders need someone other than Mack to show up in their pass rush. They have to rattle the young QB and not let him expose their secondary.
This game is offers a great opportunity to gain the ground on the teams currently in front of them for playoff spots and the Raiders cannot afford to waste it. There are only so many games left so they must to take advantage of the Broncos Sunday.