ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Orange and Blue versus the Silver and Black.
It's a rivalry that dates back to the year both teams were founded, 1960. And it's still going strong.
"I think I’ve always understood — being an AFC guy — the other division rivalries," quarterback
Monday night's game against the 1-1 Raiders has added significance because it's the first within the division for the Broncos.
Their AFC West season kicks off on Monday Night Football, and the six games against division opponents are arguably the most important of the season.
“Our guys understand the magnitude of division games," Head Coach John Fox said. "I think our goal every year — I’m sure, like the rest of the teams in our division — is to win the division. Obviously, your division record is conducive to getting in the playoffs — winning your division. It’s a huge game and it’s our first of the year.”
Last season, the Broncos swept the AFC West, and a win against the Raiders would tie the second-longest win streak against divisional opponents in club history. The seven wins would tie with a streak in the 1977-78 seasons, behind a franchise-record 11 consecutive wins in the 1997-98 campaigns.
But Manning noted that it's a completely different Raiders team in 2013, particularly on defense.
"It really feels like a new team from last year, at least from a defensive standpoint — nine new starters," Manning said, acknowledging that last year's game tape isn't all that relevant in this early-season matchup.
To that point, linebacker
“I’ve been a part of rivalries in the past, but obviously it’s going to be a little bit different going against Oakland and seeing how the fans react to it," the new offensive captain said. "Getting involved in it a little bit will be fun.”
The fact that it comes in primetime as the last game of the week only adds to the intrigue.
“Monday night versus the Raiders, that’s a huge game for us — a division game," cornerback