Raiders eye Broncos after completing grueling first half of the season

The Raiders original starting offensive line has played about 10 snaps. Several players missed time on the COVID list. And don't forget they've played one of the hardest schedules in the NFL.

Yet somehow, some way, the Las Vegas Raiders are 5-3 going into the second half of the season.

The Silver and Black has been able to fight through extreme adversity so far this season and put themselves in playoff contention. The Raiders' past two contests could also be considered their most hard-fought battles of the season, coming back to Allegiant Stadium with two nailbiter wins on the road in Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Coach Gruden says that the adversities the team have only made the team stronger.

"I think we've been competitive week in and week out," said Coach Gruden, "We've adapted to a lot of different circumstances. Missing players, missing practice, different types of weather and obviously the COVID experience has really made things bizarre and different. But I compliment our team, our players, our coaches, for being able to concentrate, prepare hard and compete hard.

"That's what I'm most proud of the most, but we still have a long way to go."

The second half of the season is poised to be a bit easier than their first half — on paper, at least. Three out of eight of their remaining games are against teams with a winning record, including, of course, the Kansas City Chiefs, whom the Raiders defeated in Arrowhead Stadium Week 5.

But first it's Denver.

The Broncos have had many of the same injury woes as the Raiders with their star All-Pro linebacker Von Miller out for the season and their quarterback of the future Drew Lock mending from a shoulder injury sustained earlier this season.

Despite the Broncos' 3-5 regular season record, Coach Gruden is well aware that their divisional opponent still has a lot of young weapons on the offensive side of the ball that will poise a threat to the Raiders' young defense.

Drew Lock has been able to make a No. 1 receiver out of the Broncos' 2020 first-round draft pick Jerry Jeudy.

Jeudy, who was teammates with Raiders' rookie receiver Henry Ruggs at Alabama, currently leads the Broncos in targets (61), receiving yards (484), and second on the team in receptions (30).

"I give this team a lot of credit. They can come from behind and they've proven that two weeks in a row, they were down big in the Charger game two weeks ago and (Drew) Lock brought them back to win. Really impressive, they have firepower to go over your head, they can run it."

"We know what we're in for… their offense is young, talented and emerging."

View the best photos from the Raiders' Week 9 win against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.

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