OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-1) at DENVER BRONCOS (2-0)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Denver -16 & 50
Opening Line & Total: Broncos -14.5 & 49.5
The Raiders head out to Denver on Monday night where they look to come away with an improbable win over the heavily-favored Broncos and their high-powered offense.
In 2012, Denver swept the season series, including a 37-6 win at home. QB Peyton Manning threw for 648 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception in those two victories. This Oakland team, however, has been much more competitive with Terrelle Pryor under center than they were last year with an unhappy Carson Palmer. The Raiders are 2-0 ATS this season, but so are the Broncos who have beaten them in three straight meetings after losing the four previous meetings to the Raiders. Denver crushed the Giants in New York last week, 41-23, and is 8-1 ATS (89%) when coming off a road win over the past three seasons. The Broncos are also 12-2 ATS (86%) when playing as a favorite over the past two years. This does not make them an automatic cover though, as the Raiders have been a tough team to beat in this young season and the Broncos are just 5-15 ATS in home games after gaining 375 or more total yards in two consecutive games since 1992.
Behind four field goals from Sebastian Janikowski and an 11-yard touchdown run from fullback Marcel Reese, the Raiders defeated the Jaguars 19-9 last week. QB Terrelle Pryor failed to find the end zone in the game, but he was effective moving the ball as he had 176 total yards without turning the ball over. RB Darren McFadden was the real spark for this Oakland team as he rushed for 129 yards on 19 carries (6.8 YPC). “Run-DMC” also caught a team-high four passes for 28 yards. He has looked like the player Raiders fans expected when they drafted him so far this season and should continue to as long as he remains healthy which is always a big question mark with him. Oakland will probably need a lot more than 19 points to stay in the game against the Broncos on Monday, so Pryor must bring his A-game if the Raiders are going to improve to 2-1. The Raiders expect to be without starting TE David Ausberry (shoulder) for the third straight game and will also miss SS Tyvon Branch who is out indefinitely with what is believed to be a fractured fibula.
The Broncos are coming off of a blowout victory in which Peyton Manning beat up on his younger brother Eli and the New York Giants. Manning threw for 307 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions, upping his season totals to 769 passing yards (9.0 YPA), 9 TD and 0 INT. However, he may be a little jittery dropping back as starting LT Ryan Clady has been lost for the year with a foot injury. RB Knowshon Moreno was also on a roll against the Giants. Despite a committee backfield, Denver used Moreno on a large majority of their snaps and he delivered with 13 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Moreno was also very useful in pass protection and caught three short passes for 14 yards when Manning needed a bailout. WR Eric Decker, who struggled in Week 1 with dropped passes, bounced back against the Giants and caught nine passes for 87 yards. He was targeted 13 times and it was clear Peyton didn’t lose any trust in his wideout. Manning has no shortage of reliable hands to catch his passes with WR Demaryius Thomas (213 rec. yds, 2 TD), TE Julius Thomas (157 rec. yds, 3 TD) and WR Wes Welker (106 rec. yds, 3 TD). But as great as the offense has been, Denver’s defense has struggled a bit, allowing 25.0 PPG and 344 passing YPG. If CB Champ Bailey (foot) is able to return to the field, he will provide a huge boost to the secondary.