Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders preview: AFC West rivilary reignited in 2016

The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders clash in California, with both teams tied for 1st place in the AFC west

Rivilary rejuvinated

Too often in recent seasons, this game has been a banker for the Broncos, with the Raiders struggling to put a consistent run together over an entire season. Things are different in the bay area now and it's thanks largley to former Denver defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, now in his second year with Oakland.

A win for the Raiders on Sunday night would see them match their win tally of seven from last season, as Del Rio settled into the job. It's refreshing for fans of the divison to see, with Denver having dominated over the past five years with a 26-7 record in the division, which includes winning eight of their last nine against the Raiders since 2011.

Top offense - top defense

The reasons these two are tied at the top of the division with 6-2 records contrasts. Oakland relys a lot on their young, highly talented offense and Denver lean on their stellar defense, which of course guided them to the Superbowl last season.

The Raiders are fifth in the league in yards per game, averaging just over 400 every week. Much of their success comes from third year quarterback, Derek Carr, who has put up 2,321 passing yards this season, with 17 touchdown passes and only three interceptions in 2016.

Carr is making Michael Crabtree look like a great reciever this year, with the former San Francisco 49ers wideout notching six touchdown catches, tied most in the league. Along with Amari Cooper, who had a career high day in the overtime win at Tampa Bay, they're becoming one of the best one two reciver combinations in the league.

The real impressive thing about Carr is how he is making all these throws in the most clutch moments to lead the Raiders to so many tight wins, such as the overtime success last week against the Buccanneers where he became only the third NFL player to throw for 500 yards along with four touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The Oakland offense will face their toughest test yet though, on sunday night football as Denver return to the area of the country where they won Superbowl 50 on the back of a huge defensive display. As far as this season goes, they've made some elite quarterbacks look very average including the likes of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and last week Phillip Rivers, who threw three picks against them.

The Broncos defence leads in key areas through nine weeks of the season, with Superbowl MVP Von Miller second in the league on sacks with 8.5, while the team on the whole leads the NFL with 26. It's not just the defensive line and the linebackers who are making plays though, with the secondary forcing a lot of turnovers.

The biggest impact the Denver defence has made is how they've helped out their rookie passer, Trevor Siemian. Semian who has not put up lighting numbers in his first NFL season, has not had to because the Broncos defence has forced the most points off turnovers in the league, with the offence cashing in 80 points after takeaways. 

Also even when Denver loses one of these superstars they have on defence, they do have quality down the depth chart, which showed last week when Aqib Talib's replacement at cornerback, Bradley Roby won the AFC defensive player of the week award after a great game against the San Diego Chargers.

Injury report

The Raiders have just a couple of guys to worry about, with defensive tackle, Stacey McGee missing some practice this week with an ankle injury after he didin't feature at Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile cornerback, Sean Smith has also been limited in practice after suffering a shoulder injury in last week's game.

Denver coach, Gary Kubiak has a lot more issues to deal with in addition to starting running back, CJ Anderson being out for the year. Also the rookie, Devontae Booker has been limited in practice because of his own shoulder injury picked up in the Chargers game.

In addition cornerback, Kayvon Webster has had his limitaions in practice with a hamstring injury.

Although, some good news may come in the form of linebacker, Brandon Marshall returning from his own hamstring strain after missing last week's game, he remains questionable. 


The season series was split in 2015, with the road team winning each game by a margin of less than seven points.

The Raiders have made their best start to a campaign since the 2001 season.

This is the fourth consecutive season where the Broncos have been at least 6-2 on their record through eight games.