Raiders vs. Broncos: Week 1

Raiders vs. Broncos: 3 Feasible Expectations For The Silver And Black In Week 1

As the Las Vegas Raiders look to flip the page toward Year 2 of the Josh McDaniels era, their first test will be a divisional bout against the Denver Broncos. Although these rivals have a storied history, it’s been the Silver and Black who have had the Broncos’ number. The Raiders are on a six-game winning streak against Denver and look to make it seven straight come Sunday afternoon.

The next chapter of this rivalry will bring new faces to both sides. Jimmy Garoppolo enters as the new starting quarterback for the Raiders, with some exciting weapons alongside him. Jakobi Meyers adds a new layer of depth to the receiving room. Meanwhile, rookie Michael Mayer steps in to fill the void left by Darren Waller. For Denver, new head coach Sean Payton will be tasked with reviving Russell Wilson’s career after a porous 2022 campaign.

Given the added layers to this showdown, here are three feasible expectations for the Raiders’ season opener against the Broncos.

Raiders vs. Broncos: Another tightly contested affair

Four of the last five matchups between these two teams have been decided by single digits. That includes the Raiders’ overtime walk-off win last November. The heated battles honestly should come as no surprise between two storied rivals.

As far as Sunday goes, we should expect more of the same. Early weather reports also indicate a 47 percent to 76 percent chance of rain, which means taking care of the ball will be paramount to success. It also underscores the likelihood of a sloppy, slugfest-type game.

Buckle up, Raider fans, because if the Silver and Black are to start the season with a 1-0 record, it could coincide with a hard-fought, gritty type of victory.

A heavy dose of Josh Jacobs and the Raiders’ ground game

Josh Jacobs officially ended his holdout before the season opener, which is timely given his reputable track record as the “Bronco slayer.”

In two games against Denver last season, Jacobs averaged 126.5 rushing yards, 41 receiving yards, and a rushing touchdown per game. Simply put, the NFL’s reigning rushing leader has no problem running rampant against the Broncos. All the while, Jacobs rips the hearts out of every fan wearing orange in the stadium.

Granted, there’s a chance Jacobs gets eased back into his volume of touches following his holdout. It wouldn’t be a shock if Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah were to get additional carries as a result. But Jacobs is a clear step ahead of both, and Josh McDaniels would be wise to feed the beast in the backfield.

More efficient play at quarterback

Last season, Derek Carr finished with a 60.8 completion percentage, which marked the second-worst of his career. The veteran faced a steep learning curve while adjusting to McDaniels’ new scheme. That issue should, theoretically, be taken care of with Jimmy Garoppolo stepping in. The veteran has a career completion percentage of 67.6 and, most notably, worked with McDaniels from 2014 to 2016 in New England.

All that is to say that come Sunday, we should see less miscommunication between McDaniels and his signal-caller. Granted, efficiency from Garoppolo will come at the expense of the deep ball. Last year, according to Pro Football Focus, Jimmy G attempted just 28 passes of more than 20 yards, which is a stark contrast to his 146 attempts in the short yardage range (0 to 9 yards). Essentially, don’t expect too many Hail Mary tosses to Davante Adams.

What if sacrificing some highlight plays for efficiency leads Las Vegas to a win? Well, Raider Nation would surely welcome the change. After all, Garoppolo was brought in to be poised and add more stability to this offense. We should see that on full display against their AFC West rival on Sunday afternoon.

*Top Photo: NFL.com

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