Derek Carr and Trevor Siemian had forgetful performances during Week 3. Carr threw an interception on his first pass attempt against the Redskins, and Siemian threw two interceptions during the second half versus the Bills. Look for the two to have bounce-back outings. It’s rare when Carr is contained for back-to-back games. Siemian will have his moments against a poor Raiders secondary.
The Broncos’ C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles got off to a hot start last week until Denver decided to go away from the run. That probably won’t be the case Sunday with the Raiders allowing 112.3 yards per game on the ground and getting torched by the Redskins’ Chris Thompson. The Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard will have a tougher time against the vaunted Broncos defense.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree didn’t play like one of the top wideout tandems in the league a week ago. It doesn’t get any easier against the Broncos’ “No Fly Zone” secondary. Cooper and Crabtree will need Seth Roberts, Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson to contribute for the team to get back on track. The Broncos have three solid options at wide receiver with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Bennie Fowler III.
It’s rare when the Raiders’ stout offensive line gets manhandled, but that was the case versus the Redskins. The Raiders won’t keep the Broncos’ strong front seven quiet for four quarters, but they’ll need to give Carr enough time to operate during key moments. Rodney Hudson continues to play like the best center in the NFL. The Broncos have revamped their line with rookie Garett Bolles at left tackle.
Defensive end Derek Wolfe and edge rusher Von Miller give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. The Broncos are allowing only 59.7 rushing yards per game, the best in the league. The Raiders counter with Khalil Mack, Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Vanderdoes.
Even with Miller, who is listed as a linebacker, playing mainly on the defensive line, the Broncos still have one of the best linebacker crews. Las Vegan Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis are off to a hot start. The Raiders continue to roll with rookie Marquel Lee at middle linebacker.
Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. continue to be one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. Justin Simmons has stepped up at strong safety after the Broncos released T.J. Ward. Safeties Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson will need to step up to assist the Raiders cornerbacks.
Returners Patterson and Richard will need to give the Raiders’ offense extra yardage against the tough Broncos defense. Denver kicker Brandon McManus has made four of six field-goal attempts.
In matchups between two even teams, it usually comes down to home-field advantage. The Broncos have arguably the loudest stadium in the league. Denver fans surely will be invested in this AFC West rivalry.
Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com): Raiders 31, Broncos 27 — The first thing I ask myself here is what the line should be. The sports books posted the proper number of Denver minus-1, showing Oakland as 2 points better on a neutral field. Then I ask what was more true last week — Oakland’s poor performance at Washington or Trevor Siemian’s rookie-type mistakes at Buffalo. Because I’ve seen Siemian fade after a good start last season, it seems more true. Oakland has covered 10 of its last 14 road games, and thanks to wise guys laying Denver, I have bonus points pushing the Raiders to the most key number in the NFL. I’m looking for the Raiders to bounce back and win a high-scoring game, which makes the spread (plus-3), money line (plus-150) and over (45.5) attractive.