Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Thursday, December 6, 2012, 8:20 pm Eastern, TV: NFL Network
O.co Coliseum – Oakland, California
Opening Line: Denver -10
Current Line: Denver -11 1/2 (+110)
Opening Total: 50 1/2
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: Broncos -600 / Raiders +475
Current Money Line: Broncos -625 / Raiders +500
The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders renew their rivalry that dates back to the old AFL Thursday night in Oakland. The 9-3 Broncos have won 7 straight games under coach John Fox and the 3-9 Raiders have lost 5 straight games under coach Dennis Allen. Allen left the team this week due to the death of his father, but returned for Wednesday’s last practice before Thursday’s game.
Denver clinched the AFC West title last week with their 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Denver also won the division last year. However, the Broncos are locked in a tight 3 way battle with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens (both also 9-3) for the #2 seed in the AFC and the first round bye that comes with it. All three teams trail the 11-1 Houston Texans for the #1 seed in the conference. Denver is 6-6 ATS this season and the total is 8-4.
Oakland is just playing out the string. The Raiders lost at home last week to the Cleveland Browns 20-17. It was the first game in their losing streak that they didn’t lose by double digits. The Raiders have lost 3 straight games at home, and haven’t lost 4 in a row in the Black Hole since 2008. Oakland hasn’t lost 6 straight games since 2007. It has been 10 seasons since the Raiders last made the playoffs. Oakland is 3-9 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season.
The Raiders and Broncos played in Denver at the end of September. The Broncos dominated the contest 37-6. The Broncos have won 2 straight against the Raiders overall and 7 of the last 9 in Oakland.
Denver is averaging 387 yards per game on offense, including 283.7 passing yards and 103.3 rushing yards. The Broncos are outscoring teams 29-20 this season. Denver is in the top 10 in the league in total offense, passing, and scoring. The Broncos are -3 in turnovers. They have forced 38 sacks and have allowed 16 this season. On defense, Denver is allowing 308.2 yards per game including 211.8 passing and 96.4 rushing yards. The Broncos are in the top 10 in the league in all defensive categories.
The Broncos are led by quarterback Peyton Manning, who a year ago was recovering from neck surgery and some people weren’t sure if he would even play football again. If not for Adrian Peterson who leads the league in rushing 12 months after tearing his ACL, Manning would be a lock for both MVP and Comeback Player of the Year. Manning has completed 68% of his passes for 3,505 yards with 29 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He has been sacked 16 times this season. Manning threw for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns in the September rout over the Raiders.
Leading rusher Willis McGahee is out for the season with a knee injury. McGahee had almost 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards and 8 total touchdowns. Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno have been splitting the carries without McGahee. Hillman and Moreno each have a rushing touchdown, and will also catch a few balls out of the backfield as well. Lance Ball will also get some carries.
Receiver Demaryius Thomas has 69 catches, 1,114 yards and 8 touchdowns. Eric Decker has 56 catches, 702 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Brandon Stokley has 36 catches, 449 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is doubtful with a wrist injury. Tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen are also important parts of the passing game. Tamme has 47 catches, 449 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dreessen has 29 catches, 253 yards and 4 touchdowns. Trindon Holliday has a punt return and a kick return for a touchdown. Short yardage receiver Matt Willis is questionable with a knee injury.
Oakland is averaging 361.8 yards per game on offense, including 278.9 passing yards and 82.8 rushing yards. The Raiders are in the top 15 in total and passing offense. The Raiders are being outscored 31-20 this season. Oakland is last in the league in points allowed. The Raiders are allowing 387 yards per game on defense, including 256.6 passing yards and 130.4 rushing yards. Oakland is -6 in turnovers. The Raiders have forced 14 sacks and given up 25 this season.
Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 60.6% of his passes for 3,532 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, along with 33 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He has been sacked 25 times this season. Running back Darren McFadden is listed as probable after missing the last 4 games with a leg injury. McFadden has rushed for 455 yards with 2 touchdowns, and also has 31 catches for 190 yards. Marcel Reece has 55 carries for 261 yards along with 46 catches, 467 yards and a touchdown. Mike Goodson, Jeremy Stewart and Taiwan Jones will also get a few carries. Goodson and Jones are both questionable with ankle injuries.
Receiver Brandon Myers has 69 catches, 721 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Denarius Moore has 38 catches, 635 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Darrius Hayward-Bey has 32 catches, 480 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rod Streater, Derek Hagan and Juron Criner will also get some targets. Streater has 3 touchdown catches. Eight defensive players are listed as questionable, doubtful or out for Thursday’s game.
The Broncos are clearly the better team here, but usually you want to take the home team in these Thursday night games. The road team has to travel on a short week, and this is a rivalry game. However, this game is an exception, as the Broncos should roll against a Raider team with very little to play for.
Our NFL Handicappers are red hot as the regular season winds down and the playoffs approach. Don’t miss out on any more winners!