Broncos leaning toward youth against Raiders

Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray pressures Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith during the Chiefs’ 33-10 victory on Dec. 25, 2016 at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo by Mike Gunnoe, The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Broncos leaning toward youth against Raiders

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs can still win the AFC West, but the team needs more than just a win over the San Diego Chargers — Kansas City still requires help from a vanquished foe.

A win by the Denver Broncos over the Oakland Raiders pulls the Chiefs into a tie for first with the Raiders. The Chiefs own the tiebreaker over Oakland thanks to their sweep of the season series. The Raiders also need a win and a New England Patriots loss to earn the AFC’s No. 1.

Denver linebacker Shane Ray believes his team wants to play spoiler for the Raiders.

“I know I’m going to come out there and do what I love to do and that’s play football,” Ray said.

But the Broncos organization may not having winning foremost on the agenda Sunday against Oakland.

The Broncos already announced plans for quarterback Trevor Siemian to split time with rookie backup Paxton Lynch. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak seems content for Lynch to play the entire game, if not for Siemian’s poor performance against the Chiefs a week ago.

“I want him to get the Kansas City taste out of his mouth,” Kubiak told reporters this week.

The Broncos also placed linebacker DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Kayvon Webster on injured reserve. The team already ruled out starting defensive end Derek Wolfe, starting safety T.J. Ward and tight end A.J. Derby, who started three games this season. Starting linebacker Brandon Marshall is questionable.

The Broncos promoted cornerback Taurean Nixon and defensive tackle Kyle Peko, both of whom could see playing time Sunday. The team also appears poised to get snaps for other young players, including offensive lineman Billy Turner.

How much veterans such as cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. might play remains up in the air, but Talib made it clear he wants to take on Oakland.

“If you need to get up for a game, you can always get up for the Raiders,” Talib said.


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.