It’s one of the best Sunday Night Football matchups of the season this week as Denver and Oakland battle for first place in the AFC West Division. The reigning Super Bowl champion Broncos have won the division five years running, but the Raiders have one of the most talented young rosters in the NFL and were targeted as a team on rise entering the season. This is a rare game on Sports Interaction NFL odds to open as a pick’em.
Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
Point spread: pick’em
Date: Sunday, Nov. 6, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Coliseum
The Broncos (6-2) have followed a two-game losing streak where the offense struggled with a two-game winning streak. They beat visiting San Diego 27-19 on Sunday to avoid the season sweep at the hands of the Chargers. The Denver defense was the story of that game as it forced three turnovers, including a Bradley Roby 49-yard interception return for a touchdown, and sacked Philip Rivers four times. There was a scary moment when defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was run into on a second-quarter play, appeared to hit his head on the ground and had to leave the field on a stretcher; he ended up being fine.
While the Denver defense is Super Bowl-quality again, the offense has left much to be desired at times this season. Trevor Siemian was just 20-for-38 for 276 yards with an interception vs. San Diego and Coach Gary Kubiak criticized his decision-making after the game. Siemian is keeping the seat filled long term for rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch, but it sounds like Kubiak could make a move if Siemian doesn’t get going.
The Broncos played the Chargers without No. 1 tailback C.J. Anderson, who was put on injured reserve last week. He might return for the playoffs. Rookie Devontae Booker rushed 19 times for 54 yards and a TD while catching five passes for 30 yards starting in Anderson’s spot vs. San Diego but suffered a shoulder injury. It’s not thought to be serious but worth monitoring. The running game has been very inconsistent all season.
Denver is +150 on NFL odds to win the AFC West again — it’s probably the best overall division in football with Kansas City (5-3) also a good team and San Diego (3-5) capable of beating anyone. The Broncos are 6-2 against the spread this season and 2-1 ATS on the road.
The Raiders (6-2) haven’t won the division, finished with a winning record or made the playoffs since losing the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay in the 2002 season. But barring a collapse, at least the winning record drought will end. This past Sunday, Oakland had quite the interesting 30-24 overtime win at Tampa Bay as the Raiders completed a 2-0 road trip through Florida. Quarterback Derek Carr set a franchise-record with 513 yards passing and threw four touchdowns, including the winning 41-yard TD pass to Seth Roberts with 1:45 left in OT.
Normally when a team’s QB throws for 500 yards and four scores that team should win easily. But the Raiders are still undisciplined and they were whistled for a league-record 23 penalties that totaled 200 yards. Carr would have set the NFL single-game passing yardage record (554 yards by Norm Van Brocklin in 1951) if some of his completions hadn’t been erased by penalty. The Raiders are the NFL’s most-penalized team.
As it was, Carr became the third QB ever to throw for at least 500 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in a game. Oakland actually would have lost to Tampa Bay if not for a Bucs penalty of defensive holding late in the fourth quarter after the Raiders were stopped on fourth down.
The Oakland offense is one of the best in the NFL, but the defense is the second-worst in terms of yards allowed (401.4 ypg). The Raiders are 5-3 against the spread this season but 0-3 ATS at home.
Broncos vs. Raiders Prediction
These teams split last year, each winning on the road. It’s the biggest game for the Oakland franchise in years. The Raiders have a huge edge at quarterback, but Denver is much better on defense. Oakland somehow hasn’t covered the spread in its past seven home games overall or its past five at home against the Broncos. Those streaks end. Take Oakland and go over the total.