Denver Broncos (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (0-8 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date and Time: Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 4:05PM ET
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN -12.5/OAK +12.5
Over/Under Total: 48.5
On Sunday, the Denver Broncos make the trip out west to face the Oakland Raiders in an AFC match-up. The Raiders are 0-8 and are hungry to notch their first win, with their level of play having improved over the last 4 games since Tony Sparano was brought in as interim coach. To get their first win, they will need to beat the first place Denver Broncos, who are coming off a rough 43-21 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
When a team is 0-8, its natural to jump to conclusions about how terrible they are. After all, its a bottom-line business and the W-L record speaks loudest. By that standard, Oakland is a gigantic failure at 0-8. But after a competitive road loss against Seattle on Sunday, Oakland moved to a respectable 4-4 against-the-spread–the same ATS record as the ballyhooed Broncos. Theyve been consistently undervalued in the past month or so.
The problem for Oakland is that they will be hosting a ticked-off Denver team looking to eliminate the stink from Sundays 22-point loss to the Patriots. Oakland could have been lined up perfectly for a win here if not for having to face this opponent in this situation. Even so, the Raiders are getting an enormous 12.5 points at home for those looking to take them against-the-spread this Sunday. There are some major signs of promise with Oakland.
In the Raiders first four games, they were outscored by a combined 50 points. In their last 4 games, since Dennis Allen was fired as head coach, they have been outscored by only 30 combined points. In their first four games, they scored only 51 points. In their last 4 games, however, they have scored 108 points. Sparanos affect on this offense is being felt.
Denver got rocked on Sunday. It was troubling to see the defense have so few answers for the Patriots passing game. Brady threw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns. If there is any silver lining, its that Denver kept the run in check, something they have been adept at this season. But they can be exploited by the more-potent passing offenses in the league. Look for them to have more success this week.
Oaklands Derek Carr has been coming along nicely as a rookie. He really hasnt been able to lean on the ground-game, which simply hasnt materialized for Oakland. And his pass-catching corps is a no-frills group, starring James Jones and TE Mychal Rivera, who had two touchdowns Sunday against the Seahawks and is developing into a nice weapon that could pay off in this game. Right now, this offense isnt doing too badly considering they are led by a rookie QB with a cast devoid of any game-changers.
Peyton Manning had 438 yards in the air on Sunday, but Denver could only manufacture 21 points of offense. But lets not characterize this offense on the one aberration on the schedule. For the most part, this offense is the full-load and incredibly difficult to curtail. Demaryius Thomas is his usual dominant self, while Emmanuel Sanders is adding another lightning bolt to this offense. TE Julius Thomas can break loose with a huge game at any moment, while Wes Welker continues to work himself back into the mix, though another injury will slow his being fully reincorporated into the offense.
Against New England, RB Ronnie Hillmans consecutive 100-yard rusing streak was halted, but he did add 7 catches and a TD as he continues to embed himself into the Denver offense. When he is able to establish his presence on the game, it gives the Denver offense the diversity it needs to really take flight. Facing a struggling Oakland run-defense, expect Denver to be able to run the ball with gusto this Sunday.
Against Oakland, Denver might need to run the ball more, as the Raiders have been fairly adept in preventing some pretty good opposing quarterbacks from going hog-wild. They kept Brady in check when they lost to the Patriots, keeping him to 234 yards through the air and only one TD. For stretches of the game against San Diego, they had Philip Rivers flummoxed, though he eventually broke through. And last week, Russell Wilson may have had his worst game of the year against Oakland, completing under half of his passes for just 179 yards. At home, maybe the Raiders can avoid a Manning free-for-all.
Carr will need to contend with a rabid Denver pass-rush. Expect guys like DeMarcus Ware and Von Millers eyes to light up when they see the rookie under center. In addition, Carr will see his run-game be even less a factor than normal, as teams have been really struggling to get much traction in that area against the Broncos lately. Eventually, the Denver front will wear down the Oakland D-line, giving Manning free-reign to sharpshoot against a good, but hardly invulnerable Oakland secondary. The spread is daunting, as giving nearly two touchdowns against an improving, albeit winless home team is a bit problematic. I still see the Broncos pulling away in the second half and covering the spread.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Denver Broncos minus 12.5 points.