How does Denver Broncos quarterback situation impact Oakland Raiders?

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Khalil Mack No. 52 of the Oakland Raiders sacks Trevor Siemian No. 13 of the Denver Broncos in their game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Khalil Mack No. 52 of the Oakland Raiders sacks Trevor Siemian No. 13 of the Denver Broncos in their game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos have their issues at starting quarterback. It will impact the AFC West this year. Where do the Oakland Raiders play into all of this?

With the Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, there is no debate about who the franchise quarterback is. Philip Rivers is on his way to Canton as one of the two best quarterbacks in Chargers history along with Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Fouts. Derek Carr is an emerging superstar in the NFL for the Silver and Black.

Even with the Kansas City Chiefs, the quarterback future is satisfactory with Alex Smith at the helm for another year. However, the future looks blinding bright with former Texas Tech standout Patrick Mahomes as Smith’s eventual replacement. Then there is whatever is going on with the Denver Broncos…

Denver knew that future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning was rapidly decaying in 2014 and 2015. He would retire after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers.

While general manager John Elway believed his son’s former college teammate at Arizona State in Brock Osweiler would be the heir apparent, Osweiler had other plans. He signed a massive four-year deal with the Houston Texans. It was a disaster and now he plays for the Cleveland Browns.

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In the quarterback room for rookie head coach Vance Joseph in Denver are Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and rookie Kyle Sloter. Siemian is a former seventh-round pick out of Northwestern. He was definitely a Gary Kubiak guy and won the starting job in 2016. Denver was serviceable with him under center, but not a playoff team due to offensive limitations.

Lynch is clearly Elway’s guy, or was Elway’s guy. Denver traded up to draft the promising signal caller out of Memphis last year. In two years with the Broncos, Lynch has struggled to catch up to the speed of the game in the NFL.

Thursday night saw the Broncos beat the lowly Chicago Bears in their first preseason game. So who was the best quarterback on the Broncos roster last night? You guessed it, the local kid out of Northern Colorado in Sloter. Keep in mind that he is a former transfer out of Southern Miss and spent the middle part of his collegiate career playing wide receiver.

Lynch and Siemian weren’t overly impressive. Sure, Siemian completed six of seven passes, but didn’t really move the needle. Lynch was six for nine with only 4.7 yards per attempt. With his powerful right arm, that’s just not good enough.

Will the Broncos get better at quarterback this season? Maybe, as offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is one of the best in the league. He did spend the previous four years coaching the Chargers. However, Denver is clearly the worst team at quarterback in the AFC and that’s bad for the Broncos’ chances of making the AFC Playoffs.

So how does the Broncos’ quarterback struggles help the Raiders? It gives Oakland a terrific shot at sweeping the season series with their division rival. Last year, the Raiders and Broncos split with the home team winning both games. However, Denver largely won in Week 17 at home because Carr could not play for the Silver and Black. If he’s in there, Oakland wins the AFC West and gets a first-round bye.

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Oakland is fortunate to get the Broncos on the road earlier in the year. These two rivals meet in Week 4 in Mile High on October.

Unless we see a massive improvement from either Lynch or Siemian, this is a game that the Raiders can absolutely win on the road in divisional play. It would make going 4-2 very likely and 5-1 a strong possibility depending on what the NFL will be getting out of the Chargers.

Does Denver have a better defense than Oakland? Yes, that’s fair, but Oakland is the more complete football team of the two. While all teams in the AFC West have a shot at making the playoffs, Denver’s chances are getting slimmer by the day.

We have to expect at least one team in the AFC West will struggle and finish under .500. Last year it was the Chargers, as injuries ravaged that team to 5-11. Not to say Denver will be that bad, but the Broncos might now be more likely to go 6-10 than 10-6.

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Add in a rookie defensive-minded head coach and this could be a rough year for the Broncos. If Oakland takes care of the football in the two games with the Broncos, the Raiders have the firepower to pull off the sweep and be as high as the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Oakland has the pass rush and the passing game to control both contests with the Broncos this fall. Still have to execute at a high level though, as the Broncos are a step-up organization historically.