Denver Broncos (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, November 6, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: DEN pk/OAK pk
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Denver Broncos come into the Bay Area to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football in what has shaped into a massive AFC West matchup. Both teams are 6-2 and vying for divisional supremacy. On Sunday, the Raiders won a big one in overtime, with a 30-24 road win at Tampa. The win brought their record to 6-2, with the Raiders an eye-opening 5-0 on the road now. They can now dig in at home where they will be until December 8. They look to start this extended home-stand the right way on Sunday. To do so, they will need to beat a tough Denver team, the defending Super Bowl champs. On Sunday, the Broncos won their second straight with a 27-19 win over the Chargers.
The Raiders may be the most exciting team in the NFL. They've already registered a couple big wins where gutsy late calls by head coach Jack Del Rio. On Sunday on 4th down, rather than play for the tie and punt on 4th down, the Raiders threw the ball, with Seth Roberts making the catch, breaking some tackles and rumbling for the game-winning score. These kinds of wins are galvanizing triumphs for a team on the rise.
On Sunday, the Oakland offense was in full flight. Only penalties threatened to derail their effort as they set a new NFL record with 23 penalties on the game. The high-flying ways of Oakland QB Derek Carr was key, as he threw for a massive 513 yards, four touchdowns, and zero picks. Amari Copper was at 173 yards, with Michael Crabtree also over 100. A whole bunch of guys chipped into the aerial attack to make big contributions. They're 4th in the league in passing offense and 8th in rushing. They're averaging 27 points a game. This is an offense that has forged an identity over the years and we now see an improving group that can make a lot of things happen. And the line, while not always able to help spring a big-run game, has at least kept Carr out of trouble, as he has been only sacked 9 times on the year.
The Oakland defense wasn't as bad as it looked on Sunday, with penalties playing a big role in Tampa being able to get it to overtime. Still, it's a part of the team that lags behind the offense. They opened the season looking like they might undermine the entire team effort this season, giving up huge offensive performances. Since then, only one team has topped 27 points against this "D." They're not great, but they don't really have to be, either. If they can just keep teams from exploding offensively and make some key stops and big plays, they should be OK.
It won't be easy to derail the Raiders at this point, Getting here wasn't easy. The Raiders have been down so long, it's hard to remember when they were last up. After working so hard to get to this point, the Raiders won't easily be separated with this good feeling. They have a good attitude, a positive spirit, and should be expected to keep doing well until serving notice otherwise.
The Broncos faced a fork in the road a few weeks ago. After starting the season 4-0, the Broncos dropped consecutive games to the Falcons and Chargers. After losing at San Diego, the Broncos came back with some more pep, beating the Texans, 27-9, before exacting revenge on the Chargers, 27-19. With 27 points scored in two straight games and with a defense that might still be the best in the league, the Broncos are back on the right track at 6-2.
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The Denver offense is still the dicey part of the equation. Trevor Siemian threw for 276 yards on Sunday in the big win against the Chargers. CJ Anderson was out, leaving he running duties to Devontae Booker, a hit-and-miss rookie. He had a TD run on Sunday. Again, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders led the way in the passing game, but neither has really been turned loose vertically. Again, this is not the strength of the team. They need to be efficient, not make mistakes, and hope their defense can win the day.
The Denver defense is still a smothering group. They can also change a game, as they did on Sunday with Bradley Roby's pick-six being a critical moment in the game. They can rush the heck out of the opposing passer, led by fierce Von Miller. The pass-defense is the best in the league, a group that thrives in coverage and in making game-changing plays. The Broncos are dealing with some injuries; with Aqib Talib missing last week's game and questionable for Sunday. Brandon Marshall is also out. On the other side of the ball, we'll see if center Matt Paradis (questionable) is in the fold, as they will be without Anderson, with Booker listed as probable after hurting his shoulder against the Chargers.
The Raiders have shown they can thrive outside the shootout dynamic. They've won some grinding defensive type affairs this season. They might have to again on Sunday Night Football. Carr will be pitting himself and his playmakers against a pass-defense that just has a way of keeping offenses out of tune. Still, something tells me the Broncos won't fire offensively very well either. I'm inclined to go under.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting under 43.5 points in the Broncos vs. Raiders game. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!