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Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Prediction

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The Oakland Raiders will visit Sports Authority Field for the first time this season as they will take on the Denver Broncos this afternoon.

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In their first meeting in Week 5, Chris Harris Jr. returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown to help the Broncos earn a 16-10 road victory over the Raiders.

With a win and a Kansas City loss or tie on Sunday, the Broncos will win their fifth straight AFC West championship.

Oakland leads the all-time series against Denver 59-49-2, but the Broncos have won the last eight games in the series.

Oakland at Denver

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV: CBS

Spread: Denver -7

Three Things to Watch

1. Derek Carr

During the Raiders' first eight games of the season, Carr was having a Pro Bowl-type of season as he threw 19 touchdowns against only four interceptions. However, the second-year quarterback has struggled over the last month.

In his last four games (1-3), Carr has thrown seven touchdowns, five interceptions and his completion percentage has dropped slightly to 62.2 percent in those games. Of his nine interceptions in 2015, seven have come in the fourth quarter and six when the Raiders were within six points.

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It's no surprise that when Carr struggles, the Raiders tend to come out on the losing side of things. Oakland will need Carr to have one of his better games of the season if they want to defeat the No.1-ranked defense in the NFL in the Broncos.

2. Broncos' rushing attack

Over the last few weeks, the Broncos' rushing game has improved. In the last three games, Denver has rushed for 170, 179 and 134 yards.

After allowing an average of 189 rushing yards over a three-game span, the Raiders have tightened things up, giving up just 44 and 89 yards on the ground in their last two games. With the Broncos' offensive line struggling in pass protection, the game will likely be decided in the trenches.

If the Broncos can establish the run against the Raiders (No. 17 in rushing defense), it is going to be a long day in the Mile High City for Oakland.

3. Khalil Mack against the Broncos' offensive line

The Broncos' offensive line has been hit with a number of injuries and both Peyton Manning and now Brock Osweiler have felt the effects. This week, the Broncos will have to contain one of the best young pass rushers in the NFL in Mack.

In 12 games, Mack has nine sacks, which is the fifth-most in the league. In his last two games, Mack has been credited with four sacks and has been a terror for offensive lines to contain.

Final Analysis

Not many people are giving Oakland a chance to win on Sunday, as the Raiders are seven-point underdogs on the road. Oakland can defeat the Denver, but Carr will need to play mistake-free football, and the Broncos' defense has been too tough to expect that.

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If Osweiler can just take care of the ball and the Broncos can run the ball successfully, the home team should come out on top. Oakland's offense should be good enough to cover the spread.

Prediction: Broncos 24, Raiders 20

— 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, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.