The Denver Broncos will finish up their record breaking season under Peyton Manning on the road in Oakland against the Raiders. Manning took over the top spot for most passing touchdowns in a season from Tom Brady a week ago. The Broncos are expecting much more from this run, with a Super Bowl in their sights. Denver has obviously clinched a spot and a first-round bye, so it appears that they have nothing to play for. Incorrect, if the Broncos were to lose this game, they would then slip to 2nd place and lose home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if the Patriots beat the Bills. Peyton Manning is one of those players that I think doesn’t take any game for granted, he is a perfectionist, so I think he will be ready to go for this one.
The Raiders on the other hand are finishing up another season of misery. After a stint from quarterback Matt McGloin, the Raiders are now back to Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders say this was the plan all along, to let Pryor slowly come back from his injury and inserted in the lineup when fully healthy. I don’t really believe that. I don’t even think the Raiders’ organization knows what is going on week-to-week. Pryor is an interesting prospect, but he nor McGloin or going to lead the Raiders to anything. Most importantly though, can they lead the Raiders to something today?
Broncos vs. Raiders Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos -11 (-110)
@Oakland Raiders +11 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Broncos vs. Raiders Pick:
Manning has already clinched the NFL record by tossing 51 touchdowns. But now it is time to make sure the number 1 seed is a sure thing. Like I said, this game means something to the Broncos to an extent. The Broncos have been one heck of an offensive juggernaut all season long. It is quite astounding the numbers that I am going to rattle off right now. Keep in mind these are numbers in week 17! They are averaging 457 yards and 38 points per game. You may think it is all Manning, but this is an offense that has talent from front to back. The running game is steady with Knowshon Moreno, there is a bevy of reliable options in the passing game for Manning, and the hurry-up offense is working better than ever.
The Broncos will be facing a Raiders’ defense that has been okay in yards allowed per game in 18th. However, they are still giving up 28 points per game. What this indicates is that the offense is putting the defense in terrible positions on the field, setting up opposing offenses with terrific field position. Give Manning and this offense great field position and they’ll make you pay. The Broncos have a great return game, which will also work to their advantage in this game. What may not work to their advantage in this game is their defense. I do, however, think they will do a serviceable job here against Pryor, a quarterback that will be making his first start since several weeks ago. What worries me with the Broncos is how the defense will hold up in the playoffs. The way the offense has been scoring points though, the defense may be able to get by. They will need to do it without star linebacker, Von Miller.
As I alluded to earlier, Manning is too much of a perfectionist to look at this like a meaningless game. Besides, in a sense this isn’t a meaningless game as they look to lock down the number 1 AFC seed. The Raiders are just a putrid team that I think has called it a season. They are looking forward to their vacations booked for this upcoming week. They have now lost five straight games, with their latest coming against the San Diego Chargers, 26-13. It is difficult to find a reason, other than the motivation factor the Broncos, that the Raiders will hang around deep into this game. I already covered the motivation factor, and I think Manning will have them going like an oiled machine once again to close the season out. I won’t do it often, but the Broncos are one team I will lay the big spread on away from home.
PICK: Broncos -11(-110)