The Oakland Raiders travel to Denver for a meeting with the Broncos to finish up the regular season in Week 17. There is a sliver of hope that the Raiders can get into the playoffs. Everything worked in their favor last week, with a win over the Chargers and losses elsewhere to get some help. They are going to need a win on the road in a hostile environment and hope others fall.
The Raiders are going to need a loss from the Titans, Steelers, and Jaguars. Not impossible, but it’s a bet with long odds. If there’s any insult to injury, it is going to be all three teams losing and the Raiders losing in Denver. The Raiders only have themselves to blame. A win against the Jaguars at home two weeks ago would have been huge. That was a very winnable game that they squandered away.
You can’t be losing games against the Jaguars at home and expect to be playing in the playoffs. The Texans and Ravens have nothing to play for, so the Raiders have to hope they find some motivation to play competitive football on Sunday. Their own game isn’t an easy one either. The Broncos aren’t playing for seeding and have nothing to lose.
It’s another game to evaluate Drew Lock to see what he brings to the table at quarterback. The rookie out of Missouri has looked good in spots as a Bronco. He’s played like what you expect a second-round rookie to look like. Lock has given the coaching staff something to think about going into next season.
Joe Flacco is under contract in Denver next year, so he’s still going to be No. 1 on the depth chart. But, if Lock impresses in training camp and looks better than Flacco, it’d be impossible to keep him on the bench. If that’s the case, it will be the second team that Flacco has gotten benched for in favor of a younger option. Lock was drafted in the second-round, so he is expected to contribute and wasn’t just a flier.
The greatest enemy for Derek Carr in this one might be the weather. He has been a horrible quarterback in cold weather games. Carr is from Fresno and went to school there, so chilly temperatures were not the norm for him growing up. He also has to deal with a really good Broncos’ defence who’ve been performing despite a record of 6-9. They haven’t gotten the message that they’re out of the playoff hunt. Officially preventing the Raiders from going to the playoffs is enough of a reason to get motivated this afternoon. Head below for our free Raiders vs. Broncos pick in Week 17 of the NFL.
NFL Week 17 – Betting Power Rankings
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Betting Odds:
Raiders vs. Broncos Prediction:
Derek Carr has not been able to heat up in colder weather. Under 50 degrees is all it has taken to impact Carr under center. In his previous nine games in those conditions, Carr has lost every outing. The forecast is calling for a high of 35 degrees on Sunday in Denver, so this is going to be another one of those games for him. Along with the altitude at Mile High and having to counter a good Denver defense leaves Carr with a tall order. The Broncos rank 10th in the NFL with 327.7 yards allowed per game. They’ve been especially stingy against the pass, with just 215.3 passing yards allowed.
The Raiders are going to be down a valuable weapon on offense on Sunday as well. Josh Jacobs has been ruled OUT for Sunday, as his tremendous rookie season will conclude with 1,150 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. With Jacobs out of the ball game, more pressure will fall on Carr to be the catalyst for the offense. Jalen Richard is No. 2 on the depth chart, but is more of a blocking back. DeAndre Washington will also see more touches without Jacobs getting carries in Denver. The Raiders are banged up elsewhere on offense as well. Left tackle, Trent Brown, who was recently named as an All-Star, was put on the IR on December 18th.
Richie Incognito is listed as doubtful on the injury report going into Sunday, too. They’re going to have to find yards in Denver against a good Broncos’ defense with an injured group. Running the ball is going to be especially difficult without Incognito. The lanes that are usually there are not going to be present for Richard and Washington in the backfield. This should turn the Raiders into a one-dimensional offense, allowing the secondary to sit back and read Carr. Lock is likely going to look in his last audition before the offseason.
The Raiders have struggled mightily against the pass. They’re 25th in the NFL with 262.6 yards allowed per contest. Lock struggled in Arrowhead against the Chiefs, but handled the Texans and Lions well for 5 touchdowns and 1 interceptions. The Texans are 30th against the pass, while the Lions are 32nd, so he gets a nice opportunity to add to his numbers against an inferior secondary in Week 17. The Raiders are 1-5 ATS in their previous six games, and stand a good chance of going 1-6 ATS in the last seven games of their 2019 campaign. Look for the Broncos to control the line of scrimmage and put an end to the Raiders’ season for good on Sunday.