Raiders at Broncos – Sports Authority Field at Mile High at 21:05
Right this week, it is back to basics and back to winning ways with my main pick of the week!
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This AFC Western divisional match-up is a crunch game for both teams involved, as the 10-2 Denver Broncos take on the 5-7 Oakland Raiders. These two teams have been moving in different directions recently, with the Broncos putting together a well-timed three game win streak and the Raiders struggling to 1-4 in their last five.
Injury to nailed on Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning had left the fate of this hugely talented Denver team, in the inexperienced hands of fourth year back up QB Brock Osweiler. However, the six foot eight inch former basketball player has proved in just four short games, how well his skill set fits into the Broncos offensive scheme.
He is by no means setting the world alight with his play but, he does enough to give the offence the chance to score points and with the number one ranked defence in the league on the other side of the ball, that is all the Broncos need to be win games.
As mentioned they have won three on the spin now, including a hugely moral boosting win over their AFC rival New England Patriots. During this three game streak they have conceded just 14 points per game and so hosting an out of form, misfiring Raiders offence this weekend, will not hold any fears for them.
The Broncos do have an almost endless injury list to deal with but with the likes of Evan Mathis, Matt Paradis & DeMarcus Ware, amongst others likely to return to the line-up, Oakland will do well to eclipse that 14 points per game average in Denver on Sunday.
After an impressive start to the campaign the Oakland Raiders have fallen away badly in the last month or so, their young stars perhaps starting to feel the pace of life in the NFL. QB Derek Carr has remained relatively consistent but poor protection of late has led to errors and their defence has also struggled, as injuries take their toll.
An average of just 17.7 points per game over the last four weeks and against some far inferior defences to Denver’s, does not bode well for their hopes this weekend. Historically, they come up short against their divisional rivals as well, with five straight defeats against the Broncos.
Ultimately, if the Broncos defence plays anywhere close to their potential then Osweiler and the offence, should only need to score a couple of touchdowns to win this one and move on to 11-2.
The other teams I like this weekend are, Panthers, Lions, Seahawks and Giants.
Handicap Betting Pick: Denver Broncos -7 at 1.83 with Bet365
Prices correct at the time of writing.