Oakland/Denver Monday Night Preview
RIVALRY RENEWAL: RESURGENT OAKLAND HOPES TO STUN AFC POWER DENVER
The Oakland Raiders vs. the Denver Broncos has been one of the nastiest rivalries in the NFL over the past couple of decades. Saying that the teams hated each other understates the obvious. Even in the worst of years for either team, they would get up for at least one of the two games against their bitter foes.
There are new faces all over the place in the 2013 rivalry renewal that starts Monday Night on ESPN. Peyton Manning is a relatively new Bronco, which hasn’t given him much time to truly hate the Raiders. He’s had bigger fish to fry…and still does so now with Denver currently installed as favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor still probably hates Michigan more from his Ohio State days. Though, comments in the press suggests he hates Ohio State now too!
But…John Elway remembers what this rivalry means…and he’ll venture down from his front office to make sure players remember. And, Oakland has so much respect for the Al Davis legacy dating back to the AFC days that nobody needs to remind them what a win over Denver means.
Maybe the market is right…and Denver will coast to an easy victory. Or…maybe the “blood rivalry” angle has created a situation where the current pointspread is a touchdown too high. Let’s review some quick numbers…
Won-Lost Records (opponents so far)
Oakland: 1-1 (Indianapolis and Jacksonville)
Denver: 2-0 (Baltimore and the NY Giants)
Don’t look now…but the Raiders are 2-0 against the spread! This duo is a combined 4-0 ATS so far, with impressive performances in context. Oakland was projected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL two weeks ago. But, they almost knocked off a 2012 playoff team on the road before beating the actual worst team in the NFL by 10 points last week. Denver crushed the last two Super Bowl winners, sending a very clear message about their intentions this year.
Yards-Per Play to Date
Oakland: 5.7 on offense, 4.5 on defense
Denver: 6.6 on offense, 4.9 on defense
Wow…great performances there from both teams. It’s important to remember that Oakland benefited from facing Jacksonville. That helps anyone’s stats. Denver at +1.7 over two preseason playoff contenders is extremely impressive. For now…you know that both teams are happy with where they are. Pryor has been an extremely pleasant surprise at quarterback for the Raiders. Denver has been dominant despite having to deal with some injuries to key offensive line contributors.
Oakland: 2-0 ATS, performing at least 5-6 points better than expectations
Denver: 2-0 ATS, performing about 2 TD’s per game better than expectations!
Oddsmakers have been surprised by several teams out of the gate this season…as have several sharp syndicates. Oakland is playing like a 7-9 type team when people were talking like 2-14 or 3-13 was most likely. Denver has been off-the-charts fantastic, basically becoming a fresh version of New England who posts really big numbers whenever things are clicking.
Current Line: Denver by 15, total 49
Things will have to click to cover that spread. Not hard to imagine at all. If you can beat Baltimore by 22 and the NY Giants by 18 (on the road), then you can beat Oakland by 15. Can the Raiders hang tough in their toughest test so far? Or, is this game already over because Manning vs. Pryor is a QB mismatch of epic proportions?
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We’ll have college and pro football notes here in the NOTEBOOK Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, big game previews resume on Thursday for what is shaping up as an amazing weekend. San Francisco plays St. Louis Thursday Night in the NFL (the Niners couldn’t beat the Rams in two tries last year!). We have LSU-Georgia and Oklahoma-Notre Dame Saturday in a pair of TV blockbusters. Then, how about New England-Atlanta, and Miami-New Orleans Sunday and Monday!
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