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Raiders-Broncos: 5 things to watch

Keys to a victory in Week 1

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders begin the 2023 NFL season Sunday at the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m. PT. Let’s look at five keys to victory for the Raiders.

Lock down the Broncos’ wide receivers:

The Broncos are coming into this game with injury issues at wide receiver. they may be playing without Jerry Jeudy with others on the injured reserve. If the Raiders can contain Courtland Sutton, they should be in business in the passing defensive game.

Run, Josh, run:

Expect to see a healthy dose of Raiders’ star running back Josh Jacobs. He had two weeks of practice to prepare for this game after signing a revised one-year contract with the team August 26. Jacobs will be plenty rested and ready to go. This might be a low-scoring defensive battle, so getting Jacobs to set the tone will be important for the Raiders. Jacobs has had strong recent success against the Broncos. That trend needs to continue especially considering it is supposed to be raining in Denver on Sunday.

Domination by defensive line:

The Broncos’ offensive line struggled often last season and reportedly didn’t look good this summer. The Raiders’ defensive front performed well in training camp and in the preseason. If Maxx Crosby and crew can win the battle up front it will go a long way toward the Raiders winning this game.

Jimmy G:

It’s the start of a new era. There is a new starting quarterback for the franchise other than Derek Carr (sans when he was injured) since 2013. Jimmy Garoppolo makes his Raiders’ debut with just a short preseason performance in the second game and he hasn’t played in a meaningful game since injuring his foot in Week 13 last season. It will be interesting to see if Garoppolo, who began practicing at the start of training camp, has a strong chemistry with his receivers this early in the season.

Dominate Russell Wilson:

Wilson was a disaster in his first season in Denver. Can he have instant improvement with Sean Payton calling the shots? We will see. But the Raiders can’t let Wilson get hot. They must harass him and keep him off balance.