Finally, it’s time to discuss a football game. It’s been a long, long week here.
The Raiders are +3.5 underdogs heading to Denver, according to DraftKings sportsbook.
Las Vegas will try to break a two-game losing streak at the Broncos on Sunday — and try to regroup after the shocking departure of Gruden. The Broncos, too, are trying to end a two-game losing skid after starting the season 3-0. Something is going to have to give in this critical AFC West game.
The loser of the Broncos-#Raiders game this week will go from 3-0 to 3-3 (Carolina also can w/ loss to Vikings). Teams since 2010 to start 3-0 and then lose 3 straight:— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) October 11, 2021
(Only Falcons made playoffs)
Here are five keys to victory for the Raiders, who will try to avoid going 0-2 in the division:
First quarter is key:
Las Vegas offensive coordinator Greg Olson is now in charge of fixing the Raiders’ offensive woes early in games, Gruden was the play caller and Olson has now assumed that role. The Raiders have not scored on their first drive of a game for the past 11 games dating back to last season and they have scored just eight points in the first quarter this season. The Broncos struggle early in games as well. They haven’t scored on their first drive in 24 games. Perhaps the first team to score will have serious some momentum.
Get out of the offensive funk:
The first quarter aside, the Raiders’ offense has been clunky the last two games. Las Vegas has scored a total of 23 points in the past two games after averaging 30 points a game in the first three games. They can’t run and they can’t pass protect. Perhaps Derek Carr and the rest of the offense will have an emotional awakening after the rough week and they can get something going.
#Raiders offense the past two weeks:— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) October 11, 2021
Points per game: 11.5, 31st (ahead of only Texans)
Yards per play: 4.07, 32nd (0.61 worse than 31st ranked Panthers)
Don’t let Von Miller take over:
In Week 5, former Raiders’ pass rusher Khalil Mack dominated the game. He had a sack, eight tackles, a big stop on a two-point conversion and a fourth-down stop in the run game. Now, the beleaguered Raiders’ offensive line has to see with Miller. He is healthy and having a big year. If Miller makes Carr’s day miserable like Mack did, it can be a long day for the visitors.
The Raiders’ defense allowed opponents to score in the red zone (inside the 20) on their first 10 attempts this season and Las Vegas is allowing red-zone touchdowns on 90.9 percent of the possession. It is the second worst clip in the league. The Las Vegas defense is better, this season, but let has to buckle down when it counts most.
Get the ball:
The Raiders are tied for the third fewest takeaways with three through five games. In 2020, the Raiders had 15 takeaways in 16 games, which was the third-fewest in the league. It has been a point of emphasis this offseason and it hasn’t paid off. Nothing will give this team a much needed emotional boost like a couple of turnovers in this game.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.