DENVER (CBS4) – The Oakland Raiders still have an outside shot at making the playoffs but a lot of things need to go their way. The Raiders must beat the Denver Broncos, have the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers both lose and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For the Broncos, it’s all about playing the spoiler role, but there still is much on the line. With a win, Denver would have their first winning record at home since 2016 when they finished at 5-3. Here are the four matchups to watch in the regular-season finale.
Daryl Worley vs Courtland Sutton
In the first matchup against the Raiders, Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton had a season-high seven catches for 120 receiving yards.
Sutton is looking for a breakout game to end the season as he’s been held to 18 catches for 228 yards and two touchdowns in the four games Drew Lock started.
On the other side, Daryl Worley will be the Raiders top cornerback with Trayvon Mullen possibly out with a concussion. Worley is fourth on the team with 56 tackles and an interception.
Darren Waller vs Justin Simmons
Raiders tight end Darren Waller has had the definition of a breakout season. He leads the team with 84 catches for 1,038 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, Waller had only six catches for 75 yards. As the focal point of the Raiders passing game, he’s been double-teamed but still has been able to remain productive, having two 100-yard receiving games in the last four games.
Matched up again Waller is Justin Simmons as the Broncos safety leads the team with four interceptions and 14 passes defended.
Clelin Ferrell/Maxx Crosby vs Garett Bolles/Jake Rodgers
If Broncos right tackle Elijah Wilkerson can’t play due to an ankle injury, Jake Rodgers would be inserted into the starting role. Rodgers came in for Wilkerson during the Lions game when he was injured in the second quarter and helped the team rush for 150 yards while keeping Drew Lock untouched in the pocket. For his great play, Vic Fangio gave Rodgers a game ball.
Rodgers and left tackle Garett Bolles will have to be ready for the Raiders rookie edge rushing duo nicknamed “salt and pepper.” Clelin Ferrell (pepper) and Maxx Crosby (salt) have brought life back to a Raiders pass rush that produced a league-low 13 sacks last season.
Crosby leads the team with 8.5 sacks while Ferrell has 4.5 sacks.
Hunter Renfrow vs Isaac Yiadom
Raiders rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow torched the Los Angeles Chargers last week with seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. Renfrow’s 56-yard touchdown catch against the Chargers came as the slot receiver on a “slant” route, which is where he does the majority of his damage. Renfrow is also tough to cover on “option” or “choice” routes, where he can read how the cornerback is covering him to get open on the field.
This will be the assignment of Broncos cornerback Isaac Yiadom who grabbed his first career interception in the final game of the season last year.