Denver at Oakland
The Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos have shared a franchise rivalry that is non existent this year as the two NFL teams couldn’t be heading in different directions. Peyton Manning has led Denver to the AFC West Championship
his first year back and looks better than ever. In their first meeting Manning and the Broncos torched the Raiders 36-7. Manning threw for 338 yards & 3 TD’s finishing with a 130 passer rating.
Not much has changed since the September 30th meeting except, Denver is better now. With time to gel and work with receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas the Denver Bronco offense is lighting up team after team. The loss of starting running back Willis McGahee was a big hit to Peyton, just not so much you would notice. With McGahee out it does limit some of the play calling options the every down back provided. The three remaining RB’s are a mixture of what Mcgahee brought as one player. He could block, very important with Manning behind center, and he is great catching out of the backfield. Knowshon Moreno has served as a solid replacement thus far. If that isn’t bad enough Peyton Manning is lights out in Thursday Night Football games. In his last 3 appearances on NFL Network Manning Has 9 TD’s vs. 1 INT with a quarterback rating of 134.5.
There is another story at play this week in the AFC playoff picture that nobody is talking about. With Denver clinching the AFC West and winning out there is an outside shot, way outside, that Denver could compete with Houston and New England for Home field in the playoffs. The Patriots face off against the Texans on Monday night in a game that could bring the Broncos into the fight for the AFC Championship. I admit it would take a lot of help, especially considering they lost to the Patriots earlier in the season, but it is possible. Assuming they take care of business tonight they meet up at Baltimore next week then home against Cleveland and Kansas City at home to close out the regular season. Meanwhile the Houston Texans play red hot Andrew Luck twice in three weeks and the Minnesota Vikings in between. New England has Houston this week follow by a home game against San Francisco, at Jacksonville, and finishing with Miami at home.(who they struggled against in week 13) It’s not outside the realm of possibility New England beats Houston and drops one to the 49′ers while Houston loses to New England and finishes 1-2 against Minnesota and the Colts.
The Denver Broncos would need a lot of things to go right but stranger things have happened.