The 7-7 Denver Broncos take on the 7-7 Raiders in Week 16 in a game that will propel one team towards the playoffs. The Raiders are looking to sweep their division rivals this season, while the Broncos are looking to inch closer to playing well into January.
As both teams prepare for Week 16, let’s look at a couple of things that may impact the game.
Injuries, COVID, and Backups, Oh My
Both teams have been riddled by COVID-19 and injuries leading up to a crucial matchup on Sunday. The Broncos will be without starting QB Teddy Bridgewater after he suffered a concussion during last week’s matchup against Cincinnati. Bridgewater was carted off the field after a scary fall, prompting a hospital admission to monitor his concussion. While he is expected to make a full recovery, he was quickly ruled out for Week 16, leaving QB Drew Lock to get his first start of the season.
The Broncos are also dealing with injuries to key players such as RB Melvin Gordon III (thumb/hip), RB Javonte Williams (knee), OLB Bradley Chubb (shoulder/ankle), and ILB Kenny Young (concussion), among others.
The Raiders have their own struggles as they have placed star rookie CB Nate Hobbs, S Roderic Teamer, and OL Jermaine Eluemunor on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. They are also struggling with injuries to star players such as TE Darren Waller (knee/back) who is doubtful, LB Denzel Perryman (ankle) who is questionable, and safety Johnathan Abram (shoulder) who will miss the rest of the season, to name a few.
Injuries and COVID-19 will no doubt have a major impact on this game, as it may very well come down to whose “next men up” are the most prepared.
The Raiders defeated the Broncos 34-24 in sweeping fashion earlier this season during a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score suggests. QB Derek Carr had one of his best performances of the season, throwing for 341 yards and two touchdowns. WR Bryan Edwards and RB Josh Jacobs also had impressive performances. The Raiders will look to repeat their Week 6 success while the Broncos will strive to diminish Las Vegas’ playoff hopes.
“Anytime you play a divisional opponent, it’s going to be a tough game.” LB K.J. Wright said this week. The Raiders are currently 1-3 within the division and are looking for their first AFC West win since Week 6.
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