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Sunday Night Football Preview

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In Week 9, let’s take a step away from fantasy.  Let’s focus on what has the potential to be the best game of this season, when the 6-2 Broncos travel to Oakland to take on the 6-2 Raiders in a matchup that can decide the fate of the AFC West.

Let’s start off with the Broncos.  Being a team with the best defense in the league, they do not need to rely on young quarterback Trevor Siemian and that offense as much as other teams do.  But what makes that defense so great?  The answer is a combination of pass rush and coverage.  The pass rush is lead by none other then the defensive player of the year frontrunner and Super Bowl 50 MVP: Von Miller.  However, it is very difficult to generate a pass rush without great coverage.  It’s a good thing that this isn’t an issue for the Denver defense, as they have “no fly zone” in their secondary.  A team’s primary receiver (in this case Amari Cooper) is usually shut down by all-pro CB Aqib Talib.  Their secondary receiver (Michael Crabtree) is locked up by Chris Harris Jr.  Penetrating this defense is without a doubt a tall task.

However, if any offense can break this defensive unit, it’s the Raiders.  The Raiders are just about the polar opposite of the Broncos.  They have a booming offense, yet a lackluster defense (despite budding star Khalil Mack).  Headlining this offense is third-year QB Derek Carr.  Halfway through the season, he is most likely the league’s MVP, as he continues to shine under the spotlight.  He has developed great relationships with the young star Amari Cooper and the veteran redzone threat Michael Crabree.  Carr is also coming off of a 500-plus yard outing with four touchdowns, and this game against the Denver defense will be a true test of his eliteness.

Be sure to tune in to NBC tonight to catch what could be the best game of the year.