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Key Matchups: Raiders and Broncos prepare for division battle on Christmas Eve

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After back-to-back games against AFC North foes, the Oakland Raiders will wrap up the 2018 campaign with consecutive games against division rivals.

First up for the Silver and Black will be the team’s 2018 home finale against the Denver Broncos, a team coming off two losses in a row.

Not only will Monday’s game be the Raiders final home tilt of 2018, but it’s the last time you’ll get a chance to watch Derek Carr and the boys on primetime – and as I’ve said, there’s nothing better than primetime.

Kickoff against the Broncos is scheduled for 5:15 pm; here are a few matchups that will play a big role in who has the cheerier Christmas Eve.

Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker vs. Bradley Chubb and Von Miller

Man, these rookie tackles have been really thrown into the fire this year, haven’t they?

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the young fellas on the outside, no doubt about that, but they’ll have their hands full once again Monday night when they try to keep the Broncos tandem of Chubb and Miller away from Derek Carr.

Combined, the two edge rushers have 26.5 sacks, and simply put, they’ve been a problem for opposing offensive lines all year.

It seems like an eternity ago when the two teams first got together – it was Week 2 after all – but in that mid-September clash, while Von Miller did get a sack, Chubb was held mostly in check.

With uncertainty once again along the interior of the offensive line headed into Week 16, a lot will be asked of the two rookies on the outside; keep an eye on how they fare against the Broncos.

Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall vs. Phillip Lindsay

As of late, stopping the run has been an undertaking producing mixed results for the Raiders.

Against the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s group essentially rendered the opposing running back a non-factor, but unfortunately they couldn’t make it three games in a row, as Joe Mixon proved to be problematic Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.

No offense to Case Keenum, but the Broncos offense really gets dangerous when the ground game gets rolling, so keeping Lindsay at bay at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Sunday afternoon will be crucial.

It’s no secret that the undrafted rookie has been one heck of an NFL story this season – he was also named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week – but if the big guys along the interior of the Raiders defensive line can get some good penetration at the line of scrimmage, I like the Silver and Black’s chances at stealing a Week 16 win.

Daryl Worley vs. Courtland Sutton

Truth be told, this a battle I’m very much looking forward to watching play out Monday night at the OACC.

Without Emmanuel Sanders available, the rookie wide receiver has essentially become the Broncos de facto No. 1 option in the passing attack, and although his stats aren’t overly impressive, the former SMU Mustang is a guy that you have to keep an eye on at all times.

And since Gareon Conley is still in the concussion protocol, I would expect that Daryl Worley will be asked to handle much of the responsibilities concerning Sutton.

Also, I know it’s been kind of lost in the shuffle the past few weeks, but the Raiders defensive backs have actually played pretty well as of late.

This is a matchup you’ll want to keep a close eye on come Monday night.

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