FOOTBALL

Hackett has interesting but not necessarily right answer on facing Raiders

Nov 16, 2022, 7:00 PM
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett of the Denver Broncos looks on before the game against the Seattle Sea...
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Nathaniel Hackett of the Denver Broncos looks on before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on September 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Broncos and Raiders are playing a big game on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.

Okay, maybe not big for a playoff berth, but big for the standings.

The loser will be alone in last place in the AFC West. If Las Vegas wins, they and Denver will both be 3-7, but the Raiders will hold the tiebreaker having swept the two games in the regular season.

At his press conference on Wednesday, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked about the two lowly squads squaring off this weekend, and gave an interesting answer. Even if it’s not necessarily correct.

“Somebody’s got to win this game,” Hackett said. “It’s been a lot of one-score games between both of the clubs. It speaks to they’re a really good football team. I know everybody looks at records, but in the NFL, I believe everybody’s really, really good. And somebody’s going to have to make that final play to (decide) who comes out on top.”

Well, coach, hate to break it to you, but somebody doesn’t have to win. In fact, the game could very well end in a tie. The Broncos have played two OT contests this year, and both against the Colts and Chargers looked destined for ties at certain points. Unfortunately, Denver found a way to lose each time.

Against Indy, it was Russell Wilson missing a wide open KJ Hamler in the end zone for the win. In Los Angeles, it was the Broncos muffing a punt that gave the Chargers an easy field goal to steal the victory.

Still, if someone does win, will it be because one team is more desperate? The seasons for both teams have gone sideways, but Hackett says playing that way isn’t a great. Rather, a different type of mentality.

“I think any time you walk out on that field you’ve got that hunger, nonstop. I don’t know if it’s necessarily desperation, you don’t want anybody to ever think that. You want them to go out there hungry, fired up and ready to make a play because that’s what we do. That’s what players do, that’s what you want them to think,” Hackett said.

Desperation and hunger aren’t all that different in my book, but I see Hackett’s point. A desperate team could play out of control, which could lead to silly mistakes. Then again, the Broncos have made plenty of those this year.

Regardless, someone should win on Sunday. However, the dreaded tie would be fitting the way this year has gone.

This story was first published by Sactown Sports‘ sister station, The Fan, 104.3 Denver. Follow Will Petersen on Twitter at @PetersenWill

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