DROP THE MIKE

Broncos facing a must-win in season opener against the Raiders

Sep 8, 2023, 6:28 AM | Updated: 7:14 am

I know. I know. You don’t need to say it. Technically the Broncos don’t have to beat the Raiders on Sunday. If they were to lose to Hurricane Josh, it’s not like they’d be eliminated from playoff contention. I get it. But, hear me out.

The Broncos are facing a must-win against the Raid-ahs.

Let me give you the reasons why:

1. If the Broncos are going to make the playoffs, they’ll probably need to win 10 games. Right now, when I look at the schedule, I see nine. That includes a win Sunday over the Raiders. Even if the Broncos beat Vegas they’ll still need to win another game they aren’t expected and won’t be favored to win. Lose Sunday, now they’ll need to win two of those.

2. If the Broncos are going to make the playoffs, I believe they’ll need to go a minimum of 4-2 in their division. That means they’ll have to sweep the Raiders, Chargers or Chiefs. What is their best chance? Vegas.

3. Sean Payton has already stressed the importance of a fast start. He said when he was working for Fox last year the thing he took away from watching the NFL was how surprise teams like the Giants, Vikings and Dolphins all got off to fast starts. He noted how important that was to gain confidence.

4. In the recent ESPN article written by Seth Wickersham, Payton “often thinks back to how essential it was that he started 3-0 in New Orleans, converting the skeptics.” Payton won’t come out and say it, but he knows the Broncos must have this game.

5. The Broncos built a tenuous cease fire with ever increasing skeptical Broncos Country. At least going into the season fans are (mostly) willing to give Payton the benefit of the doubt. He’ll be the adult in the room they sorely need after the Gong Show Hackett Experience. He’ll be able to fix Russell Wilson and get this moribund offense going. A lot of faith that will instantly disappear if the Broncos lose to the Raiders. Put it this way… a win on Sunday won’t immediately convert the skeptics. A loss? That would be devastating. They must pay off whatever offseason momentum they gained with a win.

6. Finally. It’s the freaking Raiders. Six straight losses. Enough is enough. At home, to start the season. Have to win this game. It’s a must.

***

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