Long standing AFC West rivals go head to head Monday night as the Broncos take on the Raiders. The Raiders lead the all time series 63-53-2, and the Broncos took the previous matchup this season 20-19.
The Broncos have dropped 2 straight, most recently a 17-16 loss to the Browns last Saturday. In week 13, they beat the Bengals 24-10, and in week 14 they lost 20-14 to the 49ers.
The Raiders lost 30-16 to the Bengals last week, failing to build momentum off their win over Pittsburgh. In week 13, they lost 40-33 to the Chiefs, and in week 14 they beat the Steelers 24-21.
Bovada has the Broncos as 3 point favourites with an O/U total of 43.
The Broncos offense has been very inconsistent this season, and has struggled lately without Emmanuel Sanders. Case Keenum has thrown for 3396 yards, 15 TDs, and 12 INTs while completing 62.1% of his passes and averaging 6.8 YPA. With Sanders now on IR, the Broncos get their primary receiving production from Courtland Sutton (35/614/3). DaeSean Hamilton (19/154/1), Tim Patrick (16/223/1), and Matt LaCosse (19/217/1) have assumed bigger roles as well. Phillip Lindsay has been a pleasant surprise as a UDFA, rushing for 991 yards and 9 TDs on 182 carries, while Royce Freeman (106/440/5) has gotten a lot of work as well.
The Broncos scoring defense is ranked 10th, allowing 21.4 PPG. Their pass defense is ranked near the bottom of the league, allowing 257.9 yards per game and 25 TDs through the air, while their pass rush is ranked 6th with 42 sacks. The Broncos run D is ranked below average, allowing 120.2 yards per game and 8 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 24 turnovers, and they own a +9 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Chris Harris Jr. (leg) – placed on IR, CB Isaac Yiadom (shoulder) – questionable, WR Courtland Sutton (undisclosed) – questionable
The Raiders offense has struggled with inconsistency as well, and can either be serviceable or nonexistent. Derek Carr has been alright for the most part, throwing for 3697 yards, 19 TDs, and 8 INTs while completing 68.4% of his passes and averaging 7.5 YPA. Tight end Jared Cook has been their most effective receiver, catching 63 balls for 848 yards and 6 TDs. Jalen Richard (62/550/0) and Jordy Nelson (47/586/3) have been their only other sources of consistency. Doug Martin leads the team in rushing with 526 yards and 3 TDs while Jalen Richard has also rushed 48 times for 247 yards.
The Raiders scoring defense is ranked dead last at 29.9 PPG. Their pass defense is ranked middle of the pack, allowing 238.8 yards per game and 32 TDs through the air, while their pass rush is ranked dead last with just 12 sacks. Their run defense is ranked dead last, allowing 146.4 yards per game and 14 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 13 turnovers, but own a -6 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Gareon Conley (concussion) – questionable, CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) – questionable, C Rodney Hudson (ankle) – questionable
The Broncos offense is nothing special, but special isn’t needed against a defense as bad as the Raiders. The Raiders run defense is like a wet paper bag, and the Broncos run game is potent when they want to utilize it. Phillip Lindsay is having a great season, but for some reason they ignore him occasionally. Through the air, Case Keenum likes to extend plays which shouldn’t be an issue due to the Raiders lack of a pass rush.
The Raiders offense is capable, but Denver’s defense is underrated. Bradley Chubb and Von Miller should eat Derek Carr alive off the edge with the Raiders inexperience at tackle. However, the Raiders should move the ball through the air with the quick game and passes to the tight end and running backs. In the end, the Raiders should keep this competitive, but 3 points shouldn’t be an issue against arguably the worst team in the NFL.
Final Pick: Broncos (-3)