With two divisional rivals squaring off, it promises to have some exciting moments. However, what will the AFC matchup have in store?
Sure, the Raiders are the home team, and therefore enter the game as favorites – but anything can happen, right? Could the Broncos pull off the upset as the away team? Will someone have a breakout performance or disappoint right off the bat?
Here are four bold predictions for the Week 1 matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders.
4. Von Miller Puts on a Show
Is this really that bold of a prediction, honestly? Von Miller has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL since he entered the league back in 2011. That year, Miller racked up 11.5 sacks. He’s had just three years since then with less than that.
Those years were 2013 (when he had just five sacks in nine games), 2015 (11 sacks) and 2017 (10 sacks). Last year, Miller put up 14.5 sacks, his second-most ever in a single season.
Despite his consistent dominance, Miller isn’t talked about as much as you’d expect. The reason for that is simple, people are used to it. People expect double-digit sacks from Miller because he makes it look almost easy.
That sounds unfair, because double-digit sacks aren’t easy at all, and Miller should be celebrated for it. It’s just a testament to how good he is though.
With that in mind, don’t be surprised by big things on Miller’s front in Week 1. Last year he had just one sack in two games against the Oakland Raiders, and will likely want to remind them just how good he is.
Look for the Denver Broncos star to get to quarterback Derek Carr early and often.
Even when he isn’t getting sacks, he’ll be disrupting plays.
3. Antonio Brown Reminds Everyone How Good He Is
Antonio Brown is widely considered the best wide receiver in football for a reason. He’s good.
Yes, the extra stuff can be a little much, but when he’s producing on the field – none of that matters nearly as much. That’s the problem with the offseason though, you don’t get to see the production.
Brown has had a full offseason to be crazy. It doesn’t help that there was the whole Pittsburgh Steelers thing. Then he got into it with former teammates. After that, he got traded to the Buffalo Bills, but didn’t actually. Then he got into it with former teammates again. Next he got traded to the Oakland Raiders. Then he got into it with former teammates again.
All the helmet stuff happened next, oh and his frostbitten feet. Did I mention he got into it with former teammates, again? Finally, the whole getting fined business.
The problem is, he’s had no way to distract people from it. Usually his play on the field shuts up all the talk of his other antics. Now he gets to do that on Monday, and he will.
Antonio Brown will put up big numbers and make the Oakland Raiders offense look so much better that no one will care anymore.
Once again the focus will be on just how good he is on the field.
2. Joe Flacco Goes Vintage Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco once again finds himself in a situation where he is the lame-duck quarterback. He’s the veteran QB who has a young rookie waiting in the wings behind him.
It happened last year with Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens – and honestly, it was obvious he wasn’t happy with it. Now it’s happening again with the Denver Broncos.
Flacco got traded to the Broncos this offseason and all was good. It seemed like the team was going to roll with him as there starter in hopes he could get them back into Super Bowl contention.
It looked to be even more the case when they didn’t take a quarterback in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Then something happened though, and Drew Lock slipped to them in the second round. The Broncos pounced and Flacco is in basically the same exact position he was last year.
He can postpone the transition though. If Flacco plays like vintage Flacco, the Broncos could find themselves winning games. If they’re in the playoff hunt, they’ll want to keep him in. This is a team with a lot of pieces in place. Why not try to make a run at it?
Flacco will do just that on Monday.
He’ll take advantage of the holes in the Oakland Raiders defense and put up a solid performance, giving his job a little more security.
1. Broncos Win By Two Scores
The Denver Broncos will head into Monday night’s game as slight underdogs to the Oakland Raiders. They’ll leave with their heads up as winners though.
A combination of a stingy defense and a steady offense will do the trick. Joe Flacco will limit the turnovers and Phillip Lindsay will give them a consistent ground attack.
Derek Carr will look good but with so many new pieces around him will be off-sync at some points. That will be more than enough for the Broncos to take advantage and steal a win.
They’ll do so in convincing fashion too, locking up the win with a two-score lead.