Derek Carr vs. Drew Lock
DC is going into his last quarterback duel of the season against a man who may even be more desperate for a win than he is.
With the Raiders going into their second battle of the season with their AFC West rival Denver Broncos, Drew Lock will be intent on getting the last laugh against the Raiders after his subpar performance in Allegiant Stadium. While Carr threw for 154 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, Lock threw four interceptions as the Broncos lost by 25 points.
Lock has since played better football, including a 280-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Panthers a couple of weeks ago. Even with Lock having home-field advantage and desperate to show that he's the future of the Denver Broncos, Carr wants this win just as bad for the Silver and Black.
"Our focus is completely on making sure we show up in Denver with everything that we have, making sure that we show up ready to fight and hopefully get a win in a tough football game," said Derek Carr. "Any win in the division is tough to get, especially in Denver at Mile High. It's definitely important, even if it doesn't end how we thought it all would. All these games matter. For all the work that's been put into these things for the coaches and all the players, it doesn't matter what your record is, every game matters."
Josh Jacobs vs. Denver's run defense
Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs has had a difficult couple of weeks against defenses. It really has nothing to do with how Jacobs has been playing but with the way defenses are recognizing him as a true threat.
Jacobs has had a stellar season in Las Vegas, rushing for 976 yards and ten touchdowns. Jacobs is currently 24 yards away from being the first Raiders RB to post a second consecutive 1,000 rushing yard season to start his career. Jacobs has averaged 65 yards per game over his past three contests as NFL defenses have began to stack the box against the dynamic running back, a tactic that will also be expected out of the Broncos defense, who allowed 112 yards and two touchdowns to Jacobs in their Week 10 matchup.
No. 28 has already proven that he can succeed against the Broncos defense that's allowed 132 rushing yards the past three games. However, if Bradley Chubb and the run defense can somehow find a way to contain Jacobs in Mile High Stadium, it might be a long day for the Raiders, who will have to once again turn to Derek Carr and his receivers to win the game.
Darren Waller vs. History
I'm not a big Hamilton guy – to be honest, I've never actually seen Hamilton – but this Sunday, history has its eyes on Darren Waller.
The biggest story going into the Raiders season finale against the Denver Broncos is Waller's opportunity to break a Raiders franchise record that has stood the test of time over 23 years.
As a 23 year old writing this piece, that's pretty damn insane.
Already having broken two tight end records held by Todd Christensen, Waller is seven catches away from breaking Hall of Fame receiver Tim Brown's receptions record in a season. Brown, who was a Raider for 15 seasons, accumulated a franchise record 108 catches in 1997, and also was the NFL receptions co-leader that season as well. Waller currently has 98 receptions this year, with 1,079 yards and eight touchdowns.
"It means a lot to break a record; I don't think I've ever done anything like that before," said Darren Waller on Sunday after breaking Christensen's records. "It's cool, and I appreciate everything that goes into that."
This will be more than just a game to Darren Waller. This will be his chance to cement himself as one of the greatest Raiders of all time.
The Raiders return to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as they prepare for their regular-season finale against the division-rival Denver Broncos.