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'There's no better way to start the season': Broncos eager to open 2023 with home matchup against Raiders

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Wide receiver Courtland Sutton has lined up against the Las Vegas Raiders in eight games over his career, and he believes the divisional matchup is the best way to open the 2023 season. 

"You want to win all of them, but those division games, they hit a little bit closer to home," Sutton said. "To start the season off at home against the Raiders, there's no better way to start the season than to take care of business against a division opponent at home."

Sutton has had some of his strongest games against Las Vegas, recording 40 receptions for 505 yards and three touchdowns against the silver and black. But in terms of team success, the Broncos are drawing motivation from a six-game skid against the Raiders that dates back to 2019. 

Inside linebacker Alex Singleton knows just how deep the disdain between the two franchises runs, noting that his father and brother are still devoted Raiders fans despite Singleton's role with Denver. Singleton agreed with Sutton's assessment and is looking forward to putting on a show at Empower Field at Mile High.

"No better way to start it than having the Raiders coming to town and doing it at home," Singleton said.

Singleton added that playing the Raiders to start the season will give the Broncos a prime opportunity to establish the tone for the rest of the regular season and build early momentum.

"Last year, it went the exact opposite," Singleton said, referencing Denver's Week 1 loss in 2022. "I think that kind of set the tone for the season, so this year, I think we know exactly what we want to do and what we need to do, and now we've just got to go out there and do it."

Rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. compared the Broncos' matchup with the Raiders to college football's top rivalries. The Oklahoma product is preparing for a physically and mentally taxing matchup on Sunday.

"It's like another OU-Texas game, basically, in my mind," Mims said. "Just kind of getting used to that, get ready for it, and just know that with rivalry games, even in high school, college, now going into the NFL, it's going to be chippy. It's going to be a hard-fought, huge mental game, huge physical game."

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