On Sunday Night Football, the Broncos will reignite their rivalry with the Raiders at the Coliseum in Oakland, California. Both teams are sitting at 6-2 with a chance for sole possession of first place in the AFC West on the line. This Sunday Night Football matchup will kick off at 8:30 PM. ET.
Last week against the Buccaneers, the Raiders outlasted Tampa Bay in a seesaw affair that went into overtime. In the final moments of the fourth quarter, Raider’s Kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed a game winning field goal, and then missed another game winner in overtime. Janikowski is one of the longest tenured kickers in NFL history. It was unusual to see the surefooted kicker miss multiple attempts from 50+ yards; He’s already missed 5 field goals on the season. Going up against an elite Denver defense this week, Oakland cannot afford any missed opportunities to score points.
The margin for error in this game is razor-thin. And, if that’s the case, the Raiders should start worrying. Last week against Tampa Bay, the Raiders committed a record 23 penalties for 200 yards. It’s almost unreal that Oakland managed to commit that many penalties and still win the game. The Raiders had 626 yards of total offense compared to the Buccaneers 270 yards. Oakland dominated time of possession; controlling the clock for an extra 15 minutes. And yet, the Raiders had to go to overtime to get the victory because of their lack of discipline.
The Broncos continue to win despite their lack of offense. Even with their offensive struggles, they’re still the second best team in the AFC behind only the Patriots. That could change if the Raiders manage to beat them on Sunday. What’s keeping them a top the AFC is their elite secondary. The Broncos defense ranks 5th in points allowed per game, while the Raiders rank 22nd according to NFL Stats. The Broncos also rank 3rd in fewest yards allowed per game, while the Raiders rank 31st in the league according to NFL Stats.
The Broncos offense has struggled to move the ball in recent weeks, but they should have plenty of opportunities against a troubled Oakland defense. Denver has generated a lot of pressure this season; They sacked opposing quarterbacks 26 times this season according to NFL Stats. The Denver defense needs to do what it does best: take away the passing game. If Denver can disrupt Oakland’s offense and force them to punt, then the shorter field should give the Broncos’ offense more opportunities to score points.
This matchup will pit strength against strength and weakness against weakness. The Oakland passing attack, led by Derek Carr, is the strength of their team and the reason for the Raiders resurgence this season. Carr ranks 3rd in touchdown passes and 5th in yards this season according to NFL Stats. Most impressively of all, he’s managed to protect the ball having thrown only three interceptions this season. Carr will have his toughest test of the season this week when he faces off against Denver’s “no-fly-zone” secondary. He will have to throw into the teeth of the Denver defense and it’s hard to imagine he will have success where others, besides Matt Ryan of Atlanta, have failed.
The Broncos weak offense will clash with Oakland’s weak defense. In this matchup something’s got to give. The Broncos don’t ask much of their quarterback Trevor Siemian. But, facing an explosive offense in the Raiders, Siemian will need to make plays. He’s a better than average game manager, but he’ll need to take some calculated risks deep and challenge the Raiders secondary to win this game.
Broncos Vs Raiders Betting Lines
The Raiders are 5-0 on the road this year. They’re a fun team on the rise, but they’re still young and prone to mental mistakes. That’s a huge advantage for Denver’s Super Bowl caliber defense. Oakland will need to play a flawless game offensively and then play better defensively than they have all season. The Raiders and the Broncos have had some classic tilts and it’s exciting to see this rivalry regain some of it’s old flair, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Oakland might be a trendy midseason pick, but Denver’s still the standard bearer in the AFC West. Expect the Broncos to win a close game.
Play: Broncos +1 @ BetOnline.ag