The Denver Broncos (3-2) will host the Las Vegas Raiders (3-2) in Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season at Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday. Here’s our quick preview for the AFC West showdown.
Broncos’ keys to victory: QB Teddy Bridgewater was back in action last week after suffering a concussion in Week 4, but his return was highlighted by two sacks and his first interception of the season. Denver will need to get more out of Bridgewater this week — he has plenty of weapons with WRs Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, TE Noah Fant and RBs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, so the QB should be able to spread the ball around and allow his teammates to make plays against a leaky Las Vegas defense.
Raiders’ keys to victory: After a brief injury scare last week, QB Derek Carr seems to be OK going into Week 6. Las Vegas will need Carr to return his impressive early-season form in Denver especially because the team’s backfield rotation led by RBs Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake has been mostly underwhelming through five games. The Raiders should continue to lean on Carr, with speedy WR Henry Ruggs III testing a Broncos secondary that has been shaky against deep balls this year.
Matchup to watch: Raiders TE Darren Waller vs. Broncos S Justin Simmons. Waller won’t be matched up against Simmons on every play, but they should face each other multiple times on Sunday. Waller is arguably the best receiving TE in the NFL and Denver’s defense has struggled to cover top TEs this season. Simmons is one of the game’s best safeties, but Waller could prove to be a tough assignment.
Who wins? The Raiders have won four of their last five showdowns with the Broncos and they’ll look to continue that trend this week. Neither team has looked good in recent weeks, but Las Vegas clearly has a better offense, and that could be the difference. Raiders 27, Broncos 20.