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Broncos know key to Week 1 win over Raiders is slowing Josh Jacobs: 'A pretty tough task'

The Sean Payton era commences this week in Denver with a familiar goal for the Broncos: Slow Josh Jacobs.

The Las Vegas Raiders running back has torched Denver since entering the league. The Raiders are 7-0 in games in which Jacobs plays against the Broncos, with the running back amassing 721 yards (103.0 per tilt) and nine touchdowns.

Denver knows it must slow the NFL's leading rusher on Sunday to turn the tide in the rivalry.

"We wouldn't tailor our plan -- our plan defensively is: Here are the key players," Payton said, via the team transcript. "He certainly is one of the more dominant running backs in the NFL, so that's how we'll approach the game."

The Broncos have dropped six straight games against the Raiders -- not exactly a team that has lit the world on fire. A large part of that Vegas dominance is thanks to Jacobs, who, in the last three games against Denver, has gone for 129, 144 and 109 rushing yards, respectively.

One difference heading into Sunday's season opener is that Jacobs missed the offseason due to a contract situation, which was resolved 10 days ago. Broncos defenders, however, don't believe the layoff will stymie the NFL's leading rusher.

"He may have missed all of training camp and whatnot, but he's a hard runner and he led the league in rushing last year for a reason. He prides himself on his work and that's why he did what he did," defensive lineman Mike Purcell said, via Troy Renck of ABC7 Denver. "He'll be ready to play."

The focus this offseason has been on the offensive side of the ball in Denver, where Payton is expected to jumpstart Russell Wilson's stalled career. However, the defense has a lot to prove after dipping last season.

Of all the "here we go again" feelings Denver is trying to avoid in Week 1, watching Jacobs scamper all over the D might be No. 1 on the list.

"You just have to rally around the ball and gang-tackle him. It's not going to be a one-man show. He's hard to bring down," Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II said. "He is looking for contact and those yards after contact. It's a pretty tough task because he's such a great back. But we've got a plan and the guys that can stop him."

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