How the tables have turned in the AFC West. The Oakland Raiders pay a visit to the Denver Broncos where they will be vying for the AFC West title. A win would wrap it up for them, as would a Chiefs’ loss against the Chargers. There’s one thing missing from the Raiders, though. If you’ve been living in a cave, the Raiders’ prized quarterback, Derek Carr, broke his leg and will be out for the playoffs. Such an unfortunate blow for a guy having a special year, leading his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. What could have been a rematch of the “tuck rule” game with the Patriots, turns into a difficult hill to climb for the Raiders in the postseason. The attention turns to Matt McGloin. Carr isn’t coming back, so may as well try and forget about it and see what McGloin can bring to the playoffs.
Who knows, maybe McGloin plays extremely well and parlays it with a huge contract from another team, ala Matt Flynn. Teams like to throw boatloads of money at unproven quarterbacks, so maybe all it’ll take is a strong showing from McGloin to earn a lot more cash. He does have some experience as a starter with the Raiders, before Carr was even drafted. This is McGloin’s fourth year in the NFL. Coming out of Penn State, McGloin hasn’t played much since his rookie year. He passed for a 55.9% completion percentage, with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. I do remember him having some brief stints of success, but not nearly consistent enough to warrant being a starter at the NFL level.
If McGloin was starter material, the team wouldn’t have went ahead and drafted Derek Carr. However, like he did in 2013, he was good for a few starts. All the Raiders need is to get a few good starts out of McGloin. Oakland do not have the type of defense to shut down a game. They need plays from their offense to go very far. If the Raiders did have a defense like that, I would say that McGloin might be enough to be a competent game manager and steady the offense. The Raiders do have an underrated running game, but it’s been good this year because of Carr. It’s going to be interesting to see often teams dare McGloin to pass the ball. Stuff the box and make him make a play will be something you see early from the Broncos in this one. Let’s get to my final pick of Week 17 below.
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Broncos -1.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Raiders vs. Broncos Pick:
This is the last hurrah for the Denver Broncos. They are not playing for anything in Week 17 and have already conceded their Super Bowl from last season. The offense did not do enough to get them back to where they wanted to be. The Trevor Siemian experiment just didn’t work out in my opinion. It isn’t that he was that bad. Siemian threw for 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, so it wasn’t like the guy imploded, but the Broncos are still in the same spot before the season began. The quarterback competition is alive and well between him and Paxton Lynch for next year. They could always entertain the idea of signing Tony Romo, but I have a feeling John Elway will shy away from the pulling the trigger on him due to his injury history.
If the Broncos won anything this season, it was avoiding Brock Osweiler. Osweiler took the huge contract in Houston, and the Broncos dodged a major bullet on him. If you look at their season with those kind of lens, it was a winning year in a sense. The defense was stellar once again in Denver this season. They allowed 19.4 points per game on the season, a fall from their 1st place ranking, but the defense was still not to blame in 2016. Where I think things are going to get dicey for the Raiders is facing the Broncos’ pass defense. The Broncos are 1st in the league, allowing only 187.2 yards per game passing. I expect the Raiders to want to experiment a bit with McGloin, though, so I don’t see them shying away from running their normal offense.
The Raiders are well aware that they need McGloin to have a strong postseason for them to be successful. Well, there is no better warm-up for him in Week 17 than the Denver Broncos. The Raiders finished 27th on defense, with 376.8 yards allowed per game. That just isn’t going to work, unless McGloin surprises us all with proficient play for Oakland. Mark Davis and all are holding their breath. I see the Broncos helping the Chiefs out and beating the Raiders here. It’s a rather unfriendly game for McGloin to get acquainted with in his first start since late 2013.
PICK: BRONCOS -1.5 (-110)