By: Keith Richards
First and foremost, I’m going to start by being honest. I almost completely forgot that the Broncos were playing the Raiders Monday night. Antonio Brown has completely dominated the headlines in the NFL over the last 48 hours. Now that the dust is clear, let us discuss this Monday Night Football matchup. Denver vs. the Antonio Brown-less Raiders. We will discuss the key players on offense and defense. Then, size up the toughest of the opposition. Last, we give the prediction. Well, what are we waiting for?!
Key Offensive Player
In a call that should surprise no one, Joe Flacco is the key to this game. The Broncos have passed over more qualified quarterbacks. Denver let some great coaches fall through the cracks. Elway is putting his faith in Flacco. In other words, Joe, it’s showtime. Make no mistake, no one in Denver is looking for the second coming of Elway. Optimism in Flacco from Broncos fans is very little. Still, this is the horse they have. Denver needs to tie their cart to it.
Truthfully, Flacco is an improvement over last season. While it is true he was benched for a rookie, Flacco starts on many other teams in this league. From the first snap, Joe needs to prove that he won’t screw it up. After Case Keenum, Payton Lynch, and Trevor Siemian, the city of Denver is practically begging for anyone to get the job done. In the Mile High City, though, patience will be thin. Flacco must quickly smash any doubt. He has one shot, one opportunity, to cease everything he ever wanted. Will he capture or just let it slip? (Shoutout to the GOAT: Eminem)
Key Defensive Player
After a stellar rookie season, all eyes will be on Bradley Chubb. It’s absurd to think that he’s most important Broncos player on that side of the ball, but he is still very important. For Denver to succeed, Von Miller needs to ball out. Von Miller will go as far as Chubb goes. If Chubb even just puts up the same numbers as last season, it’s great for Miller. He takes away the ability to double and triple-team Von. We will not sell Chubb short though.
Bradley has the ability and the drive to have a much better season. To get back to a 2015-like formula, Chubb needs to be Robin to Batman. No, I take that back. Chubb needs to be the Von Miller to Demarcus Ware. While it’s not the same situation, it’s very similar. For Broncos fans, it’s in Von we trust. For Miller, it’s in Chubb I trust. Chubb must show he’s ready to be the partner-in-crime Von needs him to be. It starts on Monday night.
Who to Look Watch Out For
Firstly, this was going to be Antonio Brown. We all see how that turned out. Obviously, without Brown, this is a Raiders team that should not give the Broncos too many issues. On the surface, the obvious pick is Derek Carr, but we look deeper than that at Nuts and Bolts Sports. Instead of a single unit, it’s an entire unit that needs to do well for Oakland to have a shot in this game. Against a ferocious front seven of the Broncos, the Raiders offensive line needs to be better than excellent.
Raiders fan should know how terrifying a single player can be for an entire offense. It wasn’t long ago that Khalil Mack embarrassed the entire state of Colorado with a five sack game. The issue for Oakland is that the Broncos have a two-headed monster in Miller and Chubb. So, holding the Broncos to five sacks might be a success. To that, I say, “Good luck!”
Let’s face it. The Raiders cannot be a focused football. So far, the tenure of Jon Gruden is nothing but a Spider 2 Y Even Bother. The defense is not that great. The offense isn’t anything to write home about either. Sadly, I can’t say the Broncos are Super Bowl contenders either. Still, they’re the better team between the two. Westgate Superbook has the Broncos as 2 ½ point favorites. Give me Denver in this game 27-14.