Las Vegas Raiders: Denver Broncos an excellent test to kick off 2023 NFL season

The Las Vegas Raiders open up their 2023 season against the Denver Broncos, which should be a nice test for them in Week 1.

Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders will open up their 2023 NFL schedule against a familiar foe, as they head to Denver to take on the Broncos in AFC West action. Last season, the Broncos finished dead last in the AFC West, capping a terrible campaign that saw them fire their head coach Nathaniel Hackett in-season.

This year, things should be different for the Broncos, as they replaced Hackett with a former Super Bowl-winning head coach in Sean Payton. Payton inherits a team piloted by a former league MVP in Russell Wilson, but Wilson has struggled in recent years, which makes him a big question mark for the Broncos in 2023.

Despite the Broncos being a last-place finisher in the AFC West, and having so many question marks, they are still a big favorite at home against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Broncos as four-point favorites against the Silver and Black, but are they really the better team?

There is a lot to like about Denver this season, as the offensive line should be solid, and the defensive backfield, led by Patrick Surtain Jr. could give teams fits. However, the Raiders should be much-improved as well, so this could be a perfect test for the Silver and Black in Week 1.

Raiders could be better than advertised in 2023

The Las Vegas defense should be much better than it was a year ago, as it cannot get much worse after being one of the worst units in the game last season. Jimmy Garoppolo arrives to lead the Raiders offense, and he has familiarity with Josh McDaniels, as well as the trust of the head coach.

Getting Josh Jacobs back was huge right before Week 1, and he appears ready to go to shoulder another full load at the running back spot in 2023. All told, Dave Ziegler and his staff brought in a solid group of veterans and rookies this offseason, so there is no reason this Week 1 game cannot go down to the wire.

Starting the season against a division opponent will give the Raiders a good indication as to whether or not this team could surprise in 2023. I would expect Maxx Crosby to be all over Wilson all game long, and hopefully, the new-look secondary can make some opportunistic plays.