Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Broncos-Raiders Preview & Week 3 Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on September 25, 2009

It seems strange after the tumultuous offseason the Broncos have had, but they have a very legitimate shot to start the season 3-0.  Granted, this is largely because they are benefiting from a very friendly start to the season schedule wise, but nevertheless the Broncos so far have taken advantage of that.  Besides, I still maintain the week one win against Cincinnati was not a gimmie (more on the Bengals in my picks below).  Sunday at Oakland is another winnable game the Broncos need to take advantage of because the schedule gets a lot tougher very soon.

In recent years the Broncos have played very well in the Black Hole (let’s be honest here, who hasn’t).  Denver has won five of its past six meetings in Oakland, and overall the Broncos have won 9 of their past 12 games against the Raiders.  While the fans in Oakland certainly try to give the Raiders an intimidating home environment, this has simply not been the case.  In fact, things have gotten so bad in the East Bay that the game will be blacked out locally due to a non-sellout.  The Raiders are so desperate to sell tickets they are offering a free $100 gift card to a local grocery store with the purchase of two tickets.  That lack of support never inspires much confidence in the home team, but really it is more a reflection of the Raiders’ futility.  Oakland is the only team in the NFL to have a losing record in each of the past six seasons, and they appear to be on track to make it seven in a row.

Now, getting to the matchup, I am still trying to figure out how the Raiders managed to win in Kansas City last week.  JaMarcus Russell was awful, throwing for less than 150 yards, and managing to miss a number of open receivers in the process.  The running game was non existent, as both Darren McFadden and Michael Bush were held to less than 50 yards rushing.  No receiver caught more than two passes, and the leading receiver from a year ago, tight end Zach Miller, was held without a catch.  The Raiders have talent, but they are very young at every position offensively, especially wide receiver, where two rookies start: Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy.  Strangely enough, Murphy has been by far the more impressive of the two in the first two games, despite being selected three rounds later than Heyward-Bey in April’s draft.  While the Raiders have under achieved so far this year for their talent, the fact is the talent is there and can beat you if you’re not careful.  Defensively, the Raiders have been very good, especially last week, in getting pressure on the quarterback.  The impact of Richard Seymour, acquired in trade from the Patriots right before week one, has been huge.  His presence has opened up everything for the defense.  The secondary has also been outstanding, with Michael Huff intercepting three passes already.  I also maintain that Nnamdi Asomugha is the best cornerback in the NFL.

The Broncos haven’t been spectacular offensively, but they have gotten the job done.  Kyle Orton has yet to throw a pick in two games, living up to his reputation as a quarterback who doesn’t make costly mistakes.  Orton hasn’t been flashy, but he has made the throws he has needed to make.  The Broncos do need more from Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.  Marshall has seven catches through two games but has not even been close to his old self.  He was on the sideline for long stretches against Cleveland, and in the long run the Broncos are going to need him.  Royal has also been shut down the first two games while being bothered with an ankle injury.  He is expected to be healthy against the Raiders, but could end up drawing a bad matchup in Asomugha.  In this game, it will be critical once again for Brandon Stokley and Jabar Gaffney to step up, as both did with big games against the Browns.  The biggest key for the Broncos though is they need to run the football.  Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno split carries against Cleveland, and I would expect the same against Oakland.  Both were productive last week and will need to be against the Raiders to stay out of third and long, where the Raiders defense has freely blitzed opposing QBs so far.  Defensively, the Broncos have been nothing short of outstanding, allowing just 13 points in their first two games.  The Broncos also rank second in the NFL in turnover ratio at plus four.  If they can get pressure on Russell and slow down the Raiders’ running game, I definitely like their chances to keep that trend going at least for another week.

In the end I expect this to be just like the first two Broncos’ games: another low scoring defensive battle.  Both defenses have been very good in the first two weeks, while both offenses have moved the ball at times but not with any real consistency.  I think turnovers almost always decide games like this, and I expect the Broncos defense to be able to come up with one before Oakland’s will.  I think the Broncos will be able to run the ball just well enough, and I think their defense will be able to slow down Oakland’s speed.

The Pick: Broncos 20 Raiders 10

Now, the rest of the week three picks:

Last week: 10-6 Season: 23-9

– Bills over Saints: UPSET ALERT.  I know Drew Brees has been awesome the first two games.  I also know this will be in the wind in Buffalo.  I still think the Bills will be a player in December.  I like them at home in the upset.

– Chargers over Dolphins: This actually seems pretty shaky considering Tomlinson and Merriman are both banged up, but I think Rivers and Sproles will make enough plays at home.  Miami is quickly finding reality after last season’s surprise run.

– Patriots over Falcons: I went back and forth on this one for several minutes.  Something doesn’t seem right with the Patriots, while Atlanta has been very impressive.  This is the first road game for the Falcons however, and I think New England figures out a way to not lose two in a row.  Either way this should be a great game.

– Titans over Jets: The thought of Tennessee at 0-3 is nothing short of ridiculous, and thus I can’t pick anything else here.  The Titans are hopping mad after letting one slip away at home. and I sense a letdown for the Jets after their huge win over New England.

– Bengals over Steelers: UPSET ALERT.  Pittsburgh is without Troy Polamalu.  Besides that, the Bengals offense looked scary good in Green Bay while the Steelers have been unable to run the ball in either of their first two games.  Paul Brown Stadium will be rocking.  I like Cincinnati in the stunner.

– Ravens over Browns:  Baltimore by a lot.  Let’s move on to a more competitive game.

– Texans over Jaguars: Houston made a statement last week in Tennessee.  If Matt Schaub is throwing like that Sunday, Jacksonville is in real trouble.  The Jags should score some points with Maurice Jones-Drew leading the way, but I like the Texans at home.

– Eagles over Chiefs: Even if Kevin Kolb is starting for Philly, the Eagles won’t have any trouble outscoring the Chiefs in this one.  The Kansas City offense looked very lost with Matt Cassel last week, and it won’t get any better against the Eagles.

– Giants over Buccaneers: Byron Leftwich has actually looked good the first two games for Tampa, but the defense is awful.  Eli Manning and company keep proving they  should be no brainer playoff pick for everyone.  The Giants should win easily here even on the road.

– Bears over Seahawks: No Matt Hasselbeck, no chance for Seattle.  The Bears made a statement last week and should be able to do enough to get a road win here.  Expect a big game from Matt Forte.

– Lions over Redskins: UPSET ALERT.  The game will be blacked out in Detroit (more than 10,000 seats are still available), but I think the Redskins looked awful last week and only won because they were playing the much worse Rams.  This time, the Lions do just enough and finally remember what winning a game feels like.

– Packers over Rams: Speaking of the Rams, being at home isn’t going to help them much.  The Packers are fuming after losing one at home last week. Aaron Rodgers will have a field day here.  Start every Packer you have in fantasy this week.

– Vikings over 49ers: San Francisco is nice story at 2-0, but they aren’t going to get it done in the Metrodome.  Should be fun to watch with Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson, but in the end the Vikings defense is just stronger.

– Colts over Cardinals: This should be a very entertaining Sunday night game.  Kurt Warner proved last week he can still sling it, but in the end it is difficult to pick against Peyton Manning in a game like this.  The Colts have proven that it doesn’t matter who is hurt, and they will once again figure out how to pull out a squeaker.

– Cowboys over Panthers: Dallas gets another prime time showcase for the glitzy new stadium, this time on Monday night.  This time I think the Cowboys win in their new house.  The Jake Delhomme watch is still on in the Carolinas.

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One Response to “Broncos-Raiders Preview & Week 3 Picks”

  1. Doug Baker said

    I need Eddie Royal to step up too!! He is on my fantasy football team.

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