UPI file photo: Oakland Raiders Josh Jacobs (28) carries against the Denver Broncos in the Oakland Coliseum Sep 9th during the Raiders home opener. It was the time the two teams met.
By Joe Hawkes
OAKLAND — After opening up the 2019 regular season series against each other on Monday Night Football in Week 1 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Raiders and Broncos close out their regular season season in Week 17 at Empower Field at Mile High. In the first matchup, the Raiders defeated the Broncos, 24-16, giving Oakland its second-straight win over Denver. Oakland is looking for its first victory in Denver since 2015, and leads the all-time series 64-52-2.
Sunday’s AFC West divisional matchup will kickoff at 1:25 p.m. PT on CBS with Andrew Catalon and James Lofton with the call.
In Week 16, the Raiders kept their playoff chances alive after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-17 to improve to 7-8 on the year and 3-2 in the AFC West. Quarterback Derek Carr played tremendous, completing 26-of-30 attempts for 291 yards while throwing for a touchdown and rushing for another. Carr’s touchdown throw, which went for 56 yards on the Raiders’ opening possession, was hauled in by rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow who returned to the field after missing the last three games with a rib injury.
Renfrow recorded his first career 100-yard game, reeled in a career- and team-high seven catches (five of which were on third down) against the Chargers.
Defensively, linebacker Will Compton register 12 tackles (10 solo) and rookie defensive end Clelin Ferrell recorded a sack giving him 4.5 for the season. Oakland has a league-best 13 sacks by rookies in 2019.
The Broncos are coming off a 27-17 victory at home against the visiting Detroit Lions to improve to 6-9 on the year. Denver has won three of their last four games since inserting rookie quarterback Drew Lock under center.
Lock completed 25-of-33 for 192 yards and one touchdown, while running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 109 yards on 19 attempts. Lindsay’s 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter sealed the game for Denver, who were leading 20-17 at the time.
For Oakland to make the postseason, not only would they need to defeat the Broncos but they would need wins by Cleveland (over Cincinnati), Baltimore (over Pittsburgh), Houston (over Tennessee), and Indianapolis (over Jacksonville).
With homefield and the AFC’s No. 1 seed locked up, Baltimore has already said it’s going to sit a bunch of starters which includes MVP front-runner in quarterback Lamar Jackson against the Steelers, while Houston has won the AFC South and could improve its playoff positioning. Houston is currently the fourth seed.
The Raiders need to take care of their own business against the Broncos instead of scoreboard watching in Week 17.