It’s been a tough ending to the year for the Las Vegas Raiders as they head into the season finale at the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Still, the game is not meaningless.
The Raiders want to finish strong and see something from players they hope to count on down the road.
Here is a look at five players (among many others) who this game is important for, presented in alphabetical order:
Abram is going to be a starter next season, but because he missed all but one game as a rookie last year and he missed additional games this season, the Raiders want to see as much of him as possible on Sunday. He is a spark plug and a good hitter, but he also is not great in coverage and he makes a lot of mental mistakes.
Abram needs all the work he can get going into a critical 2021 season.
In August, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said the defensive tackle was a key component after he signed a one-year deal in free agency. Collins hasn’t done much of anything as a Raider since. If he wants to stay in the organization, he better show something in this game.
The defensive end has played a lot this season and it shows. He hasn’t had a sack in the past six games. He has six sacks on the season after garnering 10 sacks as a rookie. Ideally, the Raiders find a great pass rusher next year to take pressure off Crosby, but a strong finish would give everyone more confidence about him moving forward.
Edwards began the season as a starter, but ended up playing very little. He has a chance to start next year — especially if Nelson Agholor leaves in free agency. Getting Edwards, who has nine catches in 11 games, involved in this game could be a springboard to an improved 2021 season for the third-round pick.
The 2019 second-round pick has been a starter and he hasn’t made great strides. He has been picked on a lot. Mullen is tough and he is aggressive, so he is worth sticking with. But he needs some good vibes to end the season with.