Watching Peyton Manning shred your favorite team is less appealing than a two-bit whore, but it’s what the Oakland Raiders must do as the Denver Broncos visit in Week 17. The Raider Nation is so weary from this past decade, how should one approach this lopsided contest with a smile?
Accept a loss
The Raiders have lost five straight and are 4-11 on the year, so this shouldn’t be too hard. Oakland is subconsciously maneuvering for draft position while the Broncos are trying to clinch the first seed in the AFC, so don’t expect Denver to rest its starters until they’re up at least four scores. On paper, the Raiders are less equipped to challenge the Broncos than they were when the Silver and Black lost 37-21 in Denver back in Week 3, so it would take Herculean heroics to pull off an upset in O.co Coliseum.
Look to the future
The game is an audition for almost every player on the Raiders roster, which fortunately hints there won’t be a shortage in effort. Youngsters Stacy McGee, Andre Holmes, and Mychal Rivera seek to make an impact, and this may be the last time Darren McFadden, Jacoby Ford, Kevin Burnett or Tracy Porter don an Oakland uniform, so take a moment to appreciate their skills (or lack thereof) in Sunday’s possible sendoff.
Play with numbers
If anything, Week 17 is an opportunity to pad stat lines, and Manning is licking his chops. The signal caller is 265 yards away from the NFL’s record for passing yards in a season, and the Raiders secondary is a ripe opportunity to add distance to his single-season touchdown record (51). For the Raiders, the game is a chance to make dreadful numbers a little less dismal, but Rod Streater does have an outside shot to record a 1,000-yard year (he has 848 so far) and Marquette King can strengthen his 49.1-yard punt and 40.0-yard net averages.