When the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t have Josh Jacobs as he was holding out for a better contract, the team’s chances of beating the Denver Broncos in Week 1 weren’t looking good. Luckily, the NFL leading rusher is back in the fold and the Broncos should be putting a lot of focus on him.
That’s exactly what they’re doing, according to head coach Sean Payton. He had a lot of praise for the Raiders running back ahead of the matchup.
“We wouldn’t tailor our plan — our plan defensively is: Here are the key players,” Payton said on September 5, per NFL.com. “He certainly is one of the more dominant running backs in the NFL, so that’s how we’ll approach the game.”
The Raiders are 7-o against the Broncos in games where Jacobs has played. He’s averaging 103 rushing yards and 1.3 touchdowns a game in those matchups. Despite having good defenses season after season, Denver still hasn’t figured out how to slow down the running back. If the Raiders hope to start off the season with a win, Jacobs will be the key to the game.
Josh Jacobs Talks Dominance Against Denver Broncos
Few players have dominated a single team the way Josh Jacobs has dominated the Broncos. Denver had the 10th-best run defense in the NFL last season but Jacobs still rushed for 253 yards in two games.
He’s aware of his success in the past but he knows that doesn’t mean it’ll carry over to this season with so many new faces in Denver.
“I’ve seen a little bit of it,” Jacobs said of his success against the Broncos during his September 7 media availability. “But at the end of the day, they got a new head coach [in Sean Payton]. They got a new philosophy up there. They got a new DC [defensive coordinator Vance Joseph]. You don’t know what they’re coming with. So, for me, man, I’m just going to go out there and just try to play my game.”
Expectations are high for the Broncos this season with Payton at the helm but the Raiders could derail their season early with a win.
Josh Jacobs Doesn’t Care About Individual Stats
Josh Jacobs has been a solid running back over the course of his career and had two 1,000+ yard seasons prior to last year. However, he hit another level in 2022 and led the NFL with 1,653 rushing yards. This led to him getting named First-Team All-Pro.
Jacobs isn’t satisfied with individual success if it doesn’t lead to his team winning.
“I spoke to a lot of the guys about that in the locker room – since I’ve been here, I’ve only had one winning season,” Jacobs said. “So, really, all the individual accolades don’t really mean nothing if you don’t win. That’s my main focus this year is to win, with everything [the Super Bowl] being here this year, I want to be in them conversations towards the end of the season.”
The Raiders were 5-1 in games where Jacobs rushed for over 100 yards last season so his individual success has led to wins but the team went 1-10 in games where he rushed for less than 100 yards so there’s a lot on his shoulders this season.