Sean Payton Addresses Broncos’ Plan to Slow Down Josh Jacobs, First Rivalry Game

Josh Jacobs

Getty Raiders running back Josh Jacobs scores a touchdowns against the Broncos in an October 2022 game.

The Denver Broncos have two lengthy AFC West losing streaks they will try to end in the 2023 campaign. Their first such streak against the Las Vegas Raiders can be vanquished in the season opener on September 10.

Denver is in the midst of a six-game losing streak against their division rival. A key contributor to that streak has been Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. Broncos head coach Sean Payton knows Jacobs has to be held in check or risk letting him take over the game.

“Our plan defensively is, here are the key players,’’ Payton said to reporters on Monday, September 4 via Mike Klis of 9NEWS Denver. “He certainly is one of the more dominant running backs in the NFL so that’s how we’ll approach the game.”

Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards last season and was named an AP First-team All-Pro. The Alabama product saved his best games against the Broncos as he rushed for 144 yards and two TDs in a Week 4 win and 109 yards in a Week 11 victory.

Jacobs has rushed for 721 yards and nine touchdowns in seven career games versus the Broncos. His performance has helped the Raiders steal seven of the last eight showings from Denver.

Sean Payton on Divisional Games vs. ‘Rivalries’

Heading into Week 1, Payton understands the importance of winning divisional matchups. However, the Broncos head coach doesn’t view the upcoming bout with the Raiders as a rivalry game.

“We look at them as divisional games,’’ Payton said as reported by Mike Klis of 9NEWS Denver. “I think the rivalries are in college football, and then arch rivalries. I was asked that question a lot (with New Orleans in the NFC South), relative to Atlanta, New Orleans. I mean, look, divisional games are important. First goal is to find a way to win your division. You play your divisional opponents twice.”

The Raiders have a heated history with the Broncos. Yet, the hostility between the two foes isn’t fazing Payton. The veteran coach is treating the matchup like just another game.

“I can’t speak for rivalries,’’ Payton said. “I just think that exists a little bit more in the collegiate game. I think division games are important, yes.”

Broncos’ Last 6 Games Against the Raiders

The Broncos-Raiders rivalry has been notably one-sided in favor of Vegas the last three seasons. Since winning the 2016 Super Bowl, the Broncos have gone 4-10 against their division rival, according to Pro Football Reference.

The ongoing losing streak is the second-longest to a divisional rival for the Broncos behind dropping 15-straight against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Below are the results of the Broncos’ last six games in the series. Denver fans might want to look away for a moment:

Aside from Jacobs, the Broncos also struggled to stop All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams last season. In 2022, Adams tallied 16 receptions for 242 and two touchdowns against the Broncos. The final reception came heartbreakingly on Denver’s home turf.

Payton and the Broncos have their work cut out in preparation for the season opener. Stopping the dynamic duo of Jacobs and Adams will determine whether Denver can hold their own against the Raiders in 2023.

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