A good late game in the NFL on Sunday, as the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos meet at Mile High. It’s an important early season matchup, with the AFC West on the line later this year. What a competition it should be in this division. The Chiefs look like they’re for real at 3-0, and then the Raiders and Broncos are closely behind at 2-1.
It is going to be anyone’s division, and it should be the most exciting race in the NFL. The Broncos had a lookahead game a week ago in Buffalo and they paid for looking ahead. The Bills took advantage of it, defeating the Broncos by a score of 26-16. Meanwhile, the Raiders may have been looking ahead as well, as it wasn’t even close against the Redskins on SNF, a 27-10 loss.
The Redskins game was one of the worst performances I’ve seen from Derek Carr. He threw for just 118 yards, with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. The Redskins do not have the stingiest of defenses, so it was surprising in a sense to see Carr play so badly. Kirk Cousins outdueled Carr, throwing for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the ‘Skins. The Raiders didn’t look like they had their attention on the Redskins.
They better be focused on the Broncos this week. Carr better have done his homework on the Broncos’ defense or it will result in a 2-2 start to the year for them. Not exactly what the Raiders had in mind in a year they hope to get to the Super Bowl. The expectations are there.
They should just worry about their own division at the moment, notably the Chiefs and Broncos, before they get ahead of themselves thinking Super Bowl. Trevor Siemian has been fantastic at quarterback, better than anyone could have dreamed up. We’ll see if he can keep going in this big battle against the Raiders. Head below for our thoughts and Raiders vs. Broncos pick.
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos Betting Odds:
vs. Broncos -3(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Raiders vs. Broncos Pick:
The Raiders are a year behind plans. They had their eyes set on the Super Bowl before Carr went down. Oakland still managed to reach the postseason, but they limped in with Connor Cook under center. Cook was not ready to get thrust into a spot like that, nor is he anything close to a replacement for Carr. Now with a healthy Carr, a loss in the first-round would be a major disappointment.
The most impressive win for the Raiders came on the road against the Titans in Week 1. Carr threw for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the defense held Mariota in check. They also have a 45-20 win over the Jets. Everybody played well in that one but it’s the Jets.
The Raiders were great on the road a year ago. They went 6-2, and started 5-0 on the road before losing to the Chiefs in November. Then the Raiders opened this season with a win over the Titans in Nashville. It goes without saying that they don’t have any qualms about playing away from Oakland. The Raiders are 26th in yards allowed per game with 364.3 yards. That all came from Cousins and Washington, as they played well defensively against the Titans and Jets. Should I even mention that dysfunctional offense of the Jets, though?
The Broncos’ defense is predictably strong, ranked 4th in the NFL with 263 yards allowed per game. However, that took the spotlight in September was Trevor Siemian. Siemian looked more like a quarterback, and less of a game manager. He struggled mightily against the Bills, though, throwing for 2 interceptions with no touchdowns. So, who is the real Trevor Siemian? I think he’s an average quarterback. Not as good as the quarterback who threw 4 touchdowns against the Cowboys, nor is he as bad as he was last week against the Bills.
-1 was the opening line in this one, and it’s jumped up to 3 since. That’s just about where it should be. The last time the Raiders played in Denver, the Broncos shut their offense down for a 24-6 win. That was with Connor Cook at the controls, though. I still think the Raiders’ offense is going to be in for a long day in Denver. Michael Crabtree is listed as doubtful on the injury report, so expect the Broncos to zero-in on Amari Cooper. The strength of the Raiders is their offensive line, but they’re running into one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Siemian does enough to lead the Broncos to a 6 or 7-point win.
PICK: BRONCOS -3 (-110)