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Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Prediction and Preview

Derek Carr: Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Prediction and Preview

Derek Carr: Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Prediction and Preview

Two old AFL franchises will renew their rivalry this Sunday as the Oakland Raiders travel to Mile High Stadium to take on the Denver Broncos. Head coach Jon Gruden's return to the Raiders didn't go according to plan, as he lost his 2018 debut 33-13 against the Los Angeles Rams. Oakland committed three turnovers, including a pick-six by Marcus Peters.

Denver, on the other hand, won its first game of the 2018 season, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 27-24. The Broncos were able to rush for 146 yards in the win.

Sunday will be the 116th meeting between the Raiders and Broncos. Oakland holds a 62-51-2 advantage in the series.

Oakland at Denver

Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 16 at 4:25 p.m. ET


Spread: Denver -6

Three Things to Watch

1. Quarterback Case Keenum

With the Vikings last season, Keenum threw only seven interceptions in 15 games. In Week 1 against the Seahawks, Keenum nearly reached half of his 2017 interception total.

Keenum threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns, but he also tossed three interceptions in the win over the Seahawks. With Keenum signing a two-year, $36 million contract during the offseason, the Broncos are counting on him to be a quarterback who makes smart decisions. If they're going to make a run at the postseason, Keenum can't continue turning the ball over.

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2. Quarterback Derek Carr

Speaking of quarterbacks who threw three interceptions last week, Carr also is in that boat. However, the difference between Keenum's game and Carr's game was the Broncos were able to overcome the three interceptions, while the Raiders were not.

In 2016, Carr was an MVP candidate as the Raiders finished with a 12-4 record and a Wild Card berth. But then Carr suffered a fractured right fibula and missed the Raiders' playoff loss to the Houston Texans.

Carr took a step back last year, as he threw for 3,496 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. The Raiders need Carr to return to his MVP form, particularly against a Broncos defense that intercepted Russell Wilson twice last week.

3. Von Miller

The Raiders' offensive line allowed only one sack in last week's loss to the Rams. But they will face a tough challenge trying to slow down Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

Against the Seahawks, Miller was the best player on the field, recording three sacks and two forced fumbles in the three-point victory. Seattle could not stop Miller, and the Raiders will need to find a way to prevent him from disrupting their passing attack.

Final Analysis

Sunday will be the first road game for the Raiders, who will face the Dolphins in Miami next week. While they need a victory to prevent a 0-2 start, the Broncos appear to be the better team. Not only do the Raiders have to worry about the Broncos' passing game, but they will also need to slow down Denver's running game, which produced 146 yards last week.

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Unless the Raiders can get a pass rush on Case Keenum, it is likely going to be a long day in Denver.

Prediction: Broncos 27, Raiders 17

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.