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By Tom Wilkinson

NFL Preview – Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos

The Oakland Raiders visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday in an AFC West rivalry matchup that can be seen on CBS. The Raiders did not start off well in Jon Gruden’s return, as they were dominated by the Rams in Week 1, while the Broncos beat the Seahawks. The Raiders and Broncos split their two meetings last season, with each team winning at home. Let’s look at this Week 2 matchup and NFL picks.

Date and Time: Sunday, September 16, 2018, 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, CO
NFL Odds at BetDSI: Broncos -5.5, O/U 46
Raiders vs. Broncos TV Coverage: CBS

The Raiders are coming off a 33-13 loss to the Rams in Week 1. It was not a good opening for Gruden and Oakland. The offense gained plenty of yards, but quarterback Derek Carr threw three interceptions. Tight end Jared Cook who had nine catches for 180 yards. The Raiders under Gruden are going to try and play a smash mouth brand of football, but whether it will work in today’s NFL is in question. Running backs and tight ends caught 24 of Carr’s 29 completions.

The Oakland defense was gashed in the second half by the Los Angeles offense and it was obvious that the Raiders already miss Khalil Mack. They Raiders had just one sack against Jared Goff and only one other hit on him.

The Broncos are coming off a solid 27-24 home win against Seattle last week. Denver was able to overcome three interceptions by Case Keenum who was making his first start for the Broncos. Keenum did make some big plays and he also threw three TD passes. Emmanuel Sanders looks poised for a big season with Keenum throwing him the ball, as he had 135 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. The Denver defense harassed Russell Wilson last week, but the Broncos still gave up 24 points to Seattle.

Matchup to Watch

If the Raiders are going to have a chance to win on Sunday they have to get more out of their passing game. Carr threw for a lot of yards last week, but almost all of the passes were dump offs to the running backs or short passes to the tight end. The Raiders will need to open up their passing game and get Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson involved if they are to threaten the Broncos. It is already obvious that Oakland’s defense is going to struggle this season so the Raiders need to score a lot of points to win games.

Key Stats

The Raiders are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Denver. The Raiders are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. the AFC West. The Raiders are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 road games. The Broncos are 7-1-2 ATS in their last 10 games in September. The Broncos are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 home games. The Broncos are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. the AFC West.

Looking at the total, the Under is 8-0 in the Raiders last 8 games overall. The Under is 8-1 in the Raiders last 9 vs. the AFC West. The Under is 9-3 in the Raiders last 12 road games. The Over is 7-0 in the Broncos last 7 games in September. The Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in this series.

Raiders vs. Broncos Picks

Who do you trust in this game? Do you trust Gruden to figure things out or do you trust a Denver team with Lance Lynn as head coach? Trusting Gruden or Lynn doesn’t sound that appealing, although I would probably lean to taking the Raiders plus the points. I think the better choice is the total. The Raiders are simply not very good on defense and I expect Keenum to put up big numbers. Carr will have to match him if this game is going to be competitive. I will go over the total in this contest.

Raiders vs. Broncos Pick: Over 46 at BetDSI
Raiders vs. Broncos Score Prediction: Broncos 30, Raiders 28

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