Oakland quarterback Matt McGloin will make his first start since 2013 against Denver Sunday. Reuters

The Oakland Raiders (12-3) were already aware they're heading to the postseason for the first time since 2002. The long-suffering franchise has the opportunity to sew up a first-round bye, the AFC’s No. 1 seed for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the AFC West crown if they can get by the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (8-7).

However, they’ll have to do so with quarterback Matt McGloin rather than superstar Derek Carr Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The MVP candidate Carr suffered a broken leg in Week 16’s 33-25 victory over Indianapolis to put Oakland in prime position to overtake New England for the conference’s top postseason seed. He underwent successful surgery and there is a chance he can return for Super Bowl LI if the Raiders make it that far.

Due to various tiebreakers, if the Raiders win and New England loses to Miami earlier Sunday, they would have the No. 1 seed.

But oddsmakers seem to have some to little faith in McGloin, who hasn’t started a game since he was an undrafted rookie in 2013 and went 1-5 as a starter that season. Oakland stands as a 1.5-point underdog to the Broncos, according to online sportsbook Bovada.lv.

McGloin, though, spoke confidently follow his first practice Wednesday.

“It’s exciting,” he told reporters. “You know, this is the position you want to be in. This why you spend so much time trying to master your craft and why you put so much time in the weight room, in the film room and on the practice field, is for games like this, moments like this.”

The fact that Oakland received one the best performances from its trio of rushers in Week 16 will certainly help McGloin’s cause. Rookie DeAndre Washington led the way with 99 yards and two touchdowns off only 12 carries, and fellow rookie Jalen Richard and veteran Latavius Murray chilled in 106 of Oakland’s 210 total rushing yards.

It also helps that Denver’s vaunted defense – ranking sixth in total defense and points allowed per game, first against the pass, ninth in turnovers forced and third in total sacks – has struggled against the run all season. The Broncos are 29th in the NFL in total rushing defense and allow 135.2 yards per game while coughing up 15 touchdowns.

But Denver, which, along with its Super Bowl foe from last season Carolina, won’t return to the postseason and looks to close out a disappointing title defense by snapping a three-game slide and hurting the rival Raiders’ chances at playoff success.

Much of the Broncos' woes were on offense, and in particular under center. Second-year passer Trevor Siemian was prematurely handed the keys to the offense and completed only 59.3 percent of his attempts for 3,195 yards and 16 touchdowns for an 83.9 passer rating, seventh-worst among starting quarterbacks this season.

Siemian is projected to start against Oakland, which has an improved defense of late, but rookie and first-round pick Paxton Lynch could also see time, The Denver Post reported.

Though his playing time’s been limited, Lynch, too, has had trouble running the show. He’s gone 49-for-83 for 497 yards and two touchdowns to one interception.

Betting Odds: Denver -1.5 via Bovada.lv

Over/Under: 40.5 points

Prediction: Denver over Oakland, 23-17