CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – You might think the Denver Broncos, fresh off being blown out at New England, would take their frustrations out this Sunday and rout the 0-8 Oakland Raiders.
Is the Broncos’ match-up with the Raiders a gimme?
“Nope,” wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said during Thursday Night Football Blitz. “It’s the NFL. Any given Sunday. They’ve been playing close. Last week, they lost (by) six points to Seattle. They lost (by) seven points against New England. They almost beat San Diego. And they’re home. So it’s not a gimme. We have to go up there and handle our business.”
Indeed, the Broncos are under 1-2 on the road at the season’s midpoint. And the Raiders played the Patriots much closer in Foxborough, Mass., than the Broncos did, losing only 16-9.
“Our coach says you never judge a team by their record. You judge them by their film,” Broncos safety Rahim Moore said. “Darren McFadden is still a top-notch back. Derek Carr has only been sacked eight times this season. They have a good O-line. We have to come ready to play.”
Part of getting ready to play is forgetting — or at least not dwelling on — the 43-21 loss to the Patriots.
“We definitely understand what we went through last week. It was a tough game for us to go through. But at the same time, we know that we’re a great football team,” Moore said. “We know that we can hit on all cylinders. Every great team goes through something. What we went through in New England is week 9. We are getting ready for the Raiders. You can definitely expect a better team from us going forward.”
Moore said the Broncos’ secondary expects a great performance from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
“He has a bright future,” he said. “He does some things that you would be very surprised a rookie could do. He does a great job of pump-faking safeties. He seems really poised. He can make all the throws. He has a great release. He makes plays, whether it’s throwing or (through his) running capability, too.”
The Broncos will also be without another linebacker after Nate Irving suffered a strained MCL in his knee and will be out at least a month. As it’s been each week with injuries, it’s next man up. This Sunday, Steven Johnson gets his shot.
“(He’s) a hungry guy who’s been waiting for his opportunity,” Moore said. “Losing Nate has been tough, but I believe Steve is going to go in there and handle his business. Our staff trusts Steve. He knows the game. He knows our system, and he can play.”
The Broncos will likely not see running back Montee Ball back in the starting lineup. He is still nursing a groin injury but returned to practice this week .
“He looked good,” Thomas said. “They’re taking it slow. They don’t know if he’s going to go this week or not. But it’s good to have him back on the field. He’s a tough guy, and it’s always good to have your teammate back on the field.”
– Written by Tim Skillern for CBSDenver.com
Watch more video with Demaryius Thomas and Rahim Moore in the Thursday Night Football Blitz section.