OAKLAND - Clinch the AFC West Division? Check.
Get a bye for the first round of the playoffs? Check.
Break Tom Brady’s single-season touchdown passing record? Check.
The only thing left for the Denver Broncos (12-3) to do now is to capture home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They will have the chance to do just that against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. If the Broncos beat the Raiders then they would secure the conference’s No. 1 seed for the second straight year.
The Raiders (4-11) are looking at spoiling the Broncos postseason hopes, while snapping their five-game losing streak.
Here are the key matchups to watch for in the 107th meeting between the two bitter rivals.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning vs Raiders DB Charles Woodson
Peyton Manning threw for his league-record 51st touchdown pass against the Houston Texans last week. If Manning passes for 266 yards, then he would break the single-season passing record set by Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.
Broncos RG Louis Vasquez vs Raiders DT Pat Sims
The Raiders Pat Sims recorded 15 tackles last week against the San Diego Chargers. That’s unheard of from the defensive tackle position. The Broncos Louis Vazquez will have the tough assignment of blocking Sims.
Broncos DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie vs Raiders WR Rod Streater
The Raiders don’t have too many passing threats, but when they go through the air, they look for Rod Streater. Streater leads the Raiders with 848 receiving yards.
Broncos LB Terrance Knighton vs Raiders RB Rashad Jennings
Terrance Knighton headlines the Broncos eighth-ranked rush defense. With the loss of Von Miller for the season, the Broncos will rely heavily on Knighton to disrupt the Raiders running attack. Rashad Jennings hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in the last four games.
Broncos LB Shaun Phillips vs Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
The Broncos will have to keep an eye on Terrelle Pryor who is a threat in the running and passing game. Shaun Phillips leads the Broncos with 10 sacks on the season.
Broncos Playoff Scenarios
The Broncos clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs if….
1. The Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
2. With a New England Patriots loss or tie against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
The Broncos clinched the AFC West Division and a first-round bye last week.
Broncos: OUT Wes Welker (Concussion)
Stats to Know
If Peyton Manning throws for two touchdowns against the Raiders, then he would tie John Elway’s two best seasons combined at 53. Elway threw for 27 touchdowns in 1997 and tossed 26 touchdowns twice in 1995 and 1996.
The Broncos need to score 18 points to become the highest-scoring team in NFL history. They would surpass the mark of 589 points set by the New England Patriots in 2007.
Broncos head back to Denver with home-field advantage in hand.