An AFC West showdown is the marquee matchup of Week 3, with the Denver Broncos hosting the Oakland Raiders in the late afternoon session. The game is being televised at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS and streaming online at CBS All-Access, with the A-team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call.
Both teams are 2-1 and have the looks of potential playoff contenders this season, but they’re trying to recover from disappointing losses in Week 3. This game could have major ramifications down the line. With the Kansas City Chiefs starting off 3-0, the Raiders and Broncos can’t afford much room for error. The team that drops to 2-2 will have a lot of ground to make up over the next two months.
The Broncos’ offense didn’t have many answers for the Buffalo Bills, with Trevor Siemian throwing two picks in a 26-16 loss. The one bright spot on offense was the resurgence of Jamaal Charles, who scored the Broncos’ only touchdown and led the team with 56 yards on nine carries. Staying in a committee with C.J. Anderson, Charles showed flashes of his old self after knee injuries wiped out most of his past two seasons.
Meanwhile, the Raiders completely flatlined on Sunday Night Football, getting steamrolled by Washington, 27-10. The offense, which is supposed to be the team’s biggest calling card, never showed up in this game. Derek Carr threw for just 118 yards and a touchdown to two interceptions. Marshawn Lynch didn’t do anything of note, rushing for 18 yards on six carries. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were invisible, combining for two catches and 13 yards before Crabtree left with a chest injury. The defense was carved up by Kirk Cousins, giving life to a Washington offense that struggled in the early going this year.
It was a comprehensive meltdown that makes one wonder how good the Raiders really are this year, after handling the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets in the first two weeks. There are also more injury concerns with Crabtree listed as questionable after missing most of the week’s practice.
Oakland’s offense has too much talent to not bounce back, but that will be easier said than done against the Broncos’ No Fly Zone, currently giving up the fourth-least yards per game (263). Bradley Roby, Chris Harris Jr., and Aqib Talib all have an interception apiece, while Von Miller already has three sacks in three games. As always, the Broncos’ defense is their biggest strength, so the Raiders will be even more hard-pressed to get their offensive pulse back.
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver TV: CBS
Despite the early success of Anderson and Charles, Mile High Report wonders if the Broncos should look at upgrading RB in next year’s draft.
That being said, the revitalized Charles is only a one-year rental at the running back position and Anderson is due a hefty salary of $4.5 million next year and in 2019. If Anderson continues to perform well, it is likely a safe bet that he sticks on the roster for the next season. If he doesn’t and hits a wall like he has consistently in his career, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Broncos looked for an option in the draft to replace him (as well as Charles) to compete alongside Booker and Henderson for 2018.
As the stats show above, Denver is the No. 3 rushing offense in the NFL. We saw through the first two games of the season what an offense looks like and is capable of when it has balance. The opposing defense is on its heels and doesn’t know what Mike McCoy will call. That also was a huge reason the Broncos were so good on third down and in the red zone the first two weeks. They were methodical, kept drives alive, ate time of possession and scored touchdowns.
Silver and Black Pride looks at the bright side of a bad loss, noting that the Raiders have bounced back before.
Washington got to face Carr coming off the Raiders win against the Jets in which they scored the most points since Derek Carr arrived in Oakland. And perhaps his preparation fell off because of it. Perhaps they were looking past Washington to Denver. Well, Denver is here now and recent history says the Raiders will be at their best.
In SABP’s game preview, the line of scrimmage and coverage routes are marked as the important matchups to watch.
The Raiders will need to establish the run in this game to prevent the type of pressure Carr was under in the Washington game. The Broncos were certainly one of the opponents on the coaching staff’s minds when they signed running back Marshawn Lynch. That signing will need to pay off this week.
SB Nation’s panel of experts slightly favors the Broncos here, with five writers and the OddsShark computer all picking Denver. RVB, Stephen White, and Geoff Schwartz favor the Raiders.
Tony Romo is really good at his new job