NFL Picks -- Broncos-Raiders: When will Denver be as good as its numbers?

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sun, Oct 2nd, 2022 10:53:15 am
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

The Denver Broncos have had problems getting into the end zone, and they'll try to cure that as they visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

The Las Vegas Raiders have been a littler frustrated with three close losses in three games. And because they are in the hyper-competitive AFC West, this 0-3 start is a big concern.

The Denver Broncos were considered one of the favorites to make a run toward the Super Bowl when they picked up Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade. But things haven't been easy at all for them. Rather, even on the way to a 2-1 record, they have scored just 43 points.

These teams meet on Sunday afternoon at Allegiant Stadium along the Las Vegas Strip. CBS covers this regionally.

In the NFL odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Raiders are favored:

Las Vegas Raiders -2.5 (-120)
Denver Broncos +2.5 (+100)

Over 45.5 Points -108
Under 45.5 Points -112

Okay, let's talk about the back story first. Josh McDaniels' first go-around as a head coach took place in Denver, where he started out great with Kyle Orton, of all people, as his quarterback, and now, after another stint in New England (after accepting, then turning down the Colts' job), he landed back in the AFC West.

The Raiders reunited quarterback Derek Carr with his college teammate, Davante Adams, and the two have connected 17 times for 189 yards. Okay, that's not awe-inspiring. Josh Jacobs has been a reasonably reliable producer (192 yards on 42 carries), so perhaps that's what some of this offense will run through.

The Broncos would seem to have the requisite elements on offense to make a run in the division. Aside from Wilson, the nine-time Pro Bowler, there is a 1-2 punch in the backfield with veteran Melvin Gordon and the more punishing guy, North Carolina alumnus Javonte Williams (4.76 ypc), who breaks tackle like almost nobody else. And this team does not lack for blazing speed on the outside with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

They have gained 34.8 yards per drive, which ranks them in the upper half of the league. And they are fourth best in the points-per-drive category on the defensive side. Here's what's been the biog problem for the Broncos - they just can't nudge the ball into the end zone. They are scoring TD's on just 14.3% of their red zone trips. That is easily last in the league. And not surprisingly, they are 31st in points per drive.

Las Vegas just can't work up a pass rush (only two sacks), and if they don't "right" that in a hurry that will give Wilson a clean pocket to work with more often than not. It is reasonable to expect that Wilson and first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett (former Green Bay offensive coordinator) will get more and more on the same page. Unless this whole thing is becoming a complete disaster, the Broncos ought to be able to exercise some ball control. Seemingly every home game for this Raider team between this season and last has been a close one. So we're more comfortable taking any available points.

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