Drew Lock's Broncos are thinking playoffs in 2020. The Raiders are thinking playoffs now:

Offense

Good news! Denver’s 2020 schedule is custom-made for a young QB: only three opponents rank among the top 10 scoring defenses this season. It also includes the three worst defenses (Bucs, Jets, Dolphins). Count your blessings, Drew Lock.

Advantage: Raiders

Defense

On the flip side, Bradley Chubb (remember him?) and Co. will have their hands full on ‘D.’ Tom Brady’s Patriots, Drew Brees’ Saints and, of course, Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs are on the bill for 2020. Does Denver want to see them without Chris Harris Jr.?

Advantage: Broncos

Special teams

Don’t cringe when the Broncos use one of their 12 draft picks on a punter. And the new foot will face the Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Bucs, Titans and Bengals. Ain't that a kick in the pants?

Advantage: Raiders

Coaching

Getting swept by the Raiders and Chiefs is no way to begin a coaching tenure with the Broncos. Shoot, even the forgettable Vance Joseph era saw at least one win vs. the archrivals in both seasons. Vic Fangio has yet to beat either one (0-3).

Advantage: Raiders

Prediction

What’s this tingly feeling? Is it... Broncos optimism? Drew Lock's rise has Colorado thinking playoffs in 2020. But I must cop to some bias here. A Broncos win confirms my preseason prediction of a 7-9 record. Lock gets it done in the finale.

Klee’s pick: Broncos (minus-4) 26, Raiders 20 (Record: 8-7 overall, 8-7 ATS)

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

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