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Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Predictions 12-29-2019

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The Raiders could be representing Oakland for the final time when they visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday and remarkably still have a chance to make the postseason as a wild card with a non-winning record. The Raiders kept their hopes alive with a 24-17 victory at the Los Angeles Chargers last week and face a scenario in which four outcomes - all reasonable - must occur for them to earn the No. 6 seed.

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Oakland needs to defeat Denver and Indianapolis must win at Jacksonville while Pittsburgh and Tennessee lose at Baltimore and Houston. "No one thought we'd be playing for the playoffs in Week 17, let's be real," Raiders quarterback Derek Carr told Peter King after Oakland had several games fall its way just to get this final opportunity. There's a lot at stake for Denver, too, as rookie quarterback Drew Lock tries to lead the club to four victories in five games to end 2019, and he's already looking forward to the offseason. "I'm going to approach it like I'm the guy,'' Lock told ESPN about being the starting quarterback in 2020. "Once I took my first step out on the field as a starter, that was my mentality, I wasn't going to lose it, I was going to keep it, that was the mindset I had, that's the kind of guy I want to be for this place, that's the kind of guy this place deserves.''

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -3 O/U: 41

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (7-8): DeAndre Washington was a key cog last week filling in for rookie Josh Jacobs with a season-high 106 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Darren Waller, who is second in the league among tight ends with 1,038 yards and third with 84 receptions, is the first Oakland tight end to record 1,000 yards in a season since Todd Christensen in 1986. Rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow set season highs in yards (105) and catches (six) last week, and scored his third TD.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (6-9): Lock - the first rookie in franchise history to win three of his first four starts - has completed 64.8 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and three interceptions, and appears to have all the tools to lead the franchise moving forward. "He's done enough to show that he definitely could be the guy," coach Vic Fangio told reporters. "We're looking for that to be the case." Phillip Lindsay needs 42 yards to become the fourth player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 in each of his first two seasons.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Denver second-year WR DaeSean Hamilton recorded a career-high 65 yards on six catches and scored his first touchdown of the season last week.

2. Jacobs, who missed last week's game with a shoulder injury, had surgery to treat a skin injection on his leg Wednesday.

3. The Raiders prevailed at home 24-16 in Week 1 with Carr completing 22-of-26 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown.

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Denver, Colorado, USA.
Capacity: 76,125

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Last Injuries

Denver Broncos

  • Joe Flacco

    Neck
    Doub Thurs | doubtful

    Flacco has been activated from the PUP list while recuperating from a disc repair surgery in his neck. He is unlikely to make his season debut Thursday against the Broncos.

  • Elijah Wilkinson

    Shin
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Wilkinson has been ticketed for the injured reserve list due to a shin injury, and it is unknown when he will come back.

  • Albert Okwuegbunam

    Ankle
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Okwuegbunam has missed the past three games due to an ankle injury, but he is likely to make his season debut Thursday versus the Jets.

  • Davontae Harris

    Hamstring
    Ques Thurs | questionable

    Harris sat out the previous game due to a hamstring injury, and it is up in the air if he will take the field against the Jets on Thursday.

  • Shelby Harris

    Neck
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Harris is nursing injuries to his neck and quad. It is anticipated that he will be available Thursday against the Jets.

  • Kareem Jackson

    Back
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Jackson is battling a back injury, but he is expected to take part in Thursday's contest versus the Jets.

  • Trey Marshall

    Wrist
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Marshall is hampered by a wrist injury, but he is projected to be in Thursday's lineup versus the Jets.

  • Phillip Lindsay

    Toe
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Lindsay is sidelined due to turf toe, but he is likely to return to action against the Jets on Thursday.

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Henry Ruggs III

    Knee
    Doub Sun | doubtful

    Ruggs III was absent from the lineup during the last game due with injuries to his left knee and hamstring. It is unlikely that he will participate in Sunday's matchup versus the Bills.

  • Daniel Ross

    Foot
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Ross was lifted from the previous game with a foot injury, and it has yet to be established if he will play against the Bills on Sunday.

  • Nick Kwiatkoski

    Pectoral
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Kwiatkoski has sat out the previous two games with a pectoral injury, it is unknown if he will return against the Bills on Sunday.

  • Sam Young

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Young has missed the past two games due to a groin injury, and it is unclear if he will line up Sunday against the Bills.

  • Damon Arnette

    Thumb
    Early Nov | out

    Arnette is sidelined with a fractured right thumb and is facing a six to eight-week absence.

  • Bryan Edwards

    Ankle
    Out Sun | out

    Edwards departed the last game due to a right ankle sprain, and he will not take the field Sunday against the Bills.

  • Rico Gafford

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Gafford left the previous game due to a hamstring injury, and his status for Sunday's contest versus the Bills is in question.

  • Trent Brown

    Calf
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Brown has been held out of the last two games with a calf injury, and it is uncertain if he will draw back into the lineup Sunday versus the Bills.