The Denver Broncos are coming off a rare loss this past weekend against the New England Patriots and will look to get back on track this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. While this looks to be a great matchup on paper for most players on the Broncos roster, the player who will be the X-factor and likely get the Broncos back on the winning track will be Ronnie Hillman.
Hillman started the season on the bench for Denver, but Montee Ball‘s groin injury opened the door for Hillman to get more playing time, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed. He accounted for over 100 yards from scrimmage in his first three starts of the season, and despite amassing only 63 yards last weekend against the Patriots, he found the end zone twice. Hillman has also looked impressive in limited career action against the Raiders over the past couple of seasons, rushing 35 times for 151 yards and one touchdown.
Ball has started practicing again and could be active for this weekend’s game, but Hillman is still expected to get the bulk of the carries. He also offers some upside to Ball by catching passes out of the backfield, as he caught a season-high seven passes last weekend.
The Raiders have struggled this year against the run, and are currently sporting the 27th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL allowing 132.5 yards per game. They are also tied for third-worst in the league in allowing nine rushing touchdowns, all by running backs.
The Raiders shoddy rush defense, coupled with the fact that the Broncos will likely be leading this game big in the second half and will run the ball to kill the clock, should equate to Ronnie Hillman getting back over 100 yards from scrimmage and leading the Broncos to an easy road victory over the Raiders.