The Oakland Raiders have to win their Week 12 game versus the division rival Denver Broncos. Here are five Raiders to watch in this must-win game for them.
Plain and simple. This is a must-win game for the Oakland Raiders. If they cannot knock off a reeling Denver Broncos team at home, there is no hope for this team to make the AFC playoffs this year. Then again, how bad is the AFC right now? It’s embarrassingly awful.
Oakland finds itself one game back of the Baltimore Ravens for the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff. Yes, the Ravens have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Raiders, but we have no idea how these last six weeks of the 2017 NFL season will unfold. Either way, it will be interesting, as it always is.
After getting boat raced by the New England Patriots in Mexico City in Week 11 33-8, the Raiders will play their first true home game since Week 7 against the division rival Kansas City. Oakland was on the road in Week 8 versus the Buffalo Bills, on the road versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, on bye in Week 10 and at a neutral-site game in Mexico City in Week 11 versus New England.
With the home crowd on their side, here are five Raiders that will need to have great games to lift the Silver and Black to 5-6 and stay alive in the AFC playoff picture on Sunday. Let’s get that win and beat the Broncos!
It has been a quiet year for the Raiders’ other outside pass rusher opposite of Khalil Mack in outside linebacker Bruce Irvin. Though he has played in all 10 games for Oakland, Irvin has just 2.5 quarterback sacks on the year and only 34 combined tackles.
Fortunately, one of his best games of the 2017 NFL season came against the Broncos in Week 4. He recorded his first sack of the season at Mile High on Oct. 1. Irvin does have a favorable matchup on Sunday afternoon in going up against rookie left tackle Garett Bolles.
Bolles is a 25-year-old rookie out of Utah. He has been marginal at best in his first year in the league. Though he has the potential to be halfway decent, Bolles hasn’t proven to be worth the first-round pick Denver used on him this spring. Then again, Denver hasn’t drafted a Pro Bowler since Von Miller in 2011.
Irvin will have the home crowd backing him up, a favorable man-on-man matchup and his team playing in a must-win game. Look for him to get a big time sack on Brock Osweiler on Sunday afternoon. If it’s of the strip-sack variety, more power to Irvin. He needs a big game for sure.