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Raiders vs. Broncos: 5 things to watch in Week 6

Exploring keys to victory for Las Vegas

Baltimore Ravens v Denver Broncos
Von Miller
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Finally, it’s time to discuss a football game. It’s been a long, long week here.

The Las Vegas Raiders are picking up the pieces after the Jon Gruden fallout and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia will lead them into a critical game Sunday at the Denver Broncos.

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.

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.

Chicago Bears v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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.

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.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
TD Bears
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Red-zone defense:
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.