Raiders-Broncos position breakdown

Updated November 25, 2017 - 4:24 pm

The Raiders host the Broncos at 1:25 p.m. Sunday. Here’s a breakdown by position:

Quarterbacks

The Raiders and Broncos have had dreadful seasons, but one team has their quarterback of the future. Paxton Lynch will get his final audition to prove he’s the Broncos’ quarterback of the future when he makes his season debut against the Raiders. Lynch could have a solid outing versus a poor Raiders’ secondary. Derek Carr will look to bounce back from a forgetful outing in Mexico City.

Advantage: Raiders

Running backs

Last week, the Broncos got a boost from Devontae Booker, who has battled injuries all season. Booker could get more carries than C.J. Anderson, who had a costly fourth-quarter fumble against the Bengals. The Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch continues to give lackluster performances.

Advantage: Broncos

Receivers

Broncos receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have had quiet seasons because of the team’s poor quarterback play. Thomas has scored a touchdown in three straight games. Amari Cooper scored the Raiders’ lone touchdown last week against the Patriots.

Advantage: Raiders

Offensive line

The Oakland offensive line has given Carr plenty of time to operate this season, but it hasn’t led to big plays. The Raiders could be without Gabe Jackson (ankle) and Marshall Newhouse (hip/quad). Rookie Garett Bolles starts at left tackle for the Broncos.

Advantage: Raiders

Defensive line

The Broncos defense has struggled during a six-game losing streak, but they still give opposing offenses fits with Von Miller and Derek Wolfe on the defensive line. The Broncos are ranked third overall in total defense. Khalil Mack is having a productive season, but the Raiders have only 14 sacks this season.

Advantage: Broncos

Linebackers

Las Vegan Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis lead a Broncos’ linebacker unit that allows 85.5 yards per game on the ground, the fourth best in the NFL. NaVorro Bowman and the Raiders are ranked 17th with 113.8 rushing yards allowed per game.

Advantage: Broncos

Secondary

The Raiders are entering Week 12 without an interception. That alone says enough about the team’s poor secondary. The Broncos’ “No Fly Zone” has taken a step back this season with the departure of safety T.J. Ward. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. will match up against Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

Advantage: Broncos

Special teams

The Raiders have plenty of issues on the offensive and defensive sides. But the special teams has been productive with Cordarrelle Patterson returning kicks. Broncos kicker Brandon McManus is having a solid season.

Advantage: Raiders

Intangibles

The Broncos could have an advantage with new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who replaced the fired Mike McCoy last week. Musgrave was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Advantage: Broncos

Handicapper’s take

Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com): Raiders 23-10 — The Broncos haven’t won a game since Oct. 1 at home against the Raiders. Since then, they’ve lost six straight and look to avoid their first seven game losing streak since 1967. Granted, three losses were against the Chiefs, Eagles and Patriots, but the one last week at home against Cincinnati was the killer. The Denver defense stuffed the Bengals most of the day, but still lost 20-17 aided by quarterback errors. Paxton Lynch starts this week, and he’s a disaster but deserves a shot. I don’t care how bad the Raiders have been lately, going 1-6-1 ATS in their past eight. They will make life miserable for Lynch.

Gilbert Manzano covers the NFL for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.

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