The last time the Raiders faced the Denver Broncos, Khalil Mack had five sacks.
Mack overpowered the Broncos offensive line all day in a 15-12 victory over the team that would go on to win the Super Bowl, and his all-day pressure – and a strip sack that produced a safety – was a key reason.
After that game his teammates and coaches raved about Mack’s dominance, with head coach Jack Del Rio saying Mack “was unbelievable.”
Now, as the Raiders prepare to play host to the Broncos Sunday night – in a battle for the AFC West lead – Mack appears to be primed for another big game.
He’s coming off a two-sack effort in a win over Tampa Bay last weekend and has five in his past five games after going sackless in the season’s first three games.
Mack’s teammate, linebacker Bruce Irvin, told reporters this week that he expects a big second half from Mack, starting Sunday night vs. Denver.
“He’s been disruptive every week to me,” Irvin told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “You guys don’t see the film that we see. The guy, he’s a monster. He wreaks havoc every week and he has to be accounted for and he’s what, three straight games he’s had a sack? So I mean, it’s that time of year when he’s about to get rolling. It’s really exciting to see.”
In fact, en route to a 15-sack season last year, Mack collected 11 in a six-game stretch to start the second half of the schedule.
Mack, however, isn’t predicting any such thing. He told Gutierrez the Broncos this season are a “different team” with “different personnel.” Trevor Siemian is a more mobile quarterback than Brock Osweiler (Mack’s victim last year) and the Broncos have made changes on the offensive line.
Mack ranks tied for 16th in the NFL with his five sacks. Lorenzo Alexander of Buffalo leads the league with nine. No. 2 on the list, linebacker Von Miller, with 8½, will be on the field Sunday night for the Broncos.
Kickoff for Sunday’s game between the 6-2 teams is set for 5:30 p.m.