Monday Night Football Preview: Broncos at Raiders

Monday Night Football Preview

Broncos -3 | Over/Under 43.5

Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas all. The Monday Night Football schedule wraps up in week 16 with a Christmas Eve showdown between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders in what may be the final game in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Santa clearly has us on the naughty list this year as he has delivered up a bottom of the AFC West matchup. These teams meet with a combined nine wins on the season and neither will be seeing post-season action.

Oakland holds the all-time series advantage between the sides (62-52-2) but Denver has flipped that recently, winning three of the last four meetings, including a 20-19 win earlier this season.

Broncos at Raiders

Broncos -3 | Over/Under 43.5

Denver Broncos (6-8)

It’s been a disappointing season for the mile-high men. A six-win season to this point is not what the franchise had envisioned at the start of the year. The Broncos are in danger of falling to the first back-to-back losing seasons that they’ve had since the 1970s. There are some reports circulating that this will be the last season of Vance Joseph in Denver. But they’ve uncovered some bright spots for the future in rookies Bradley Chubb, Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton, and Royce Freeman. Chubb, in particular, is just three sacks away from the NFL rookie sack record held by Jevon Kearse (14.5).

Why They Will Win

The Oakland Raiders have the worst rushing defense in the NFL, allowing 146.4 ground yards every week. So coming up against the Broncos featuring rookie rush phenom Phillip Lindsay isn’t an exciting prospect. Lindsay has become the surprise of the NFL, rushing for 991 yards and nine touchdowns whilst becoming the first undrafted offensive rookie to be named to the Pro Bowl.

Oakland knows what to expect from Lindsay. He got his Pro Bowl season started in week 2 against the Raiders when he rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries, his first career 100-yard rushing game.

And Why They Won’t

Courtland SuttonThe other side of the offensive game is in a bit of trouble at this point of the season. Case Keenum came into Denver has the big quarterback signing after leading the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC title game last year, but he’s since had his teething problems. Part of that is regression, but most of it has to do with his receiving corps, or lack thereof. The Broncos dealt Demaryius Thomas away at the trade deadline to Houston, and then to make things at the position even thinner, Emmanuel Sanders suffered an Achilles injury in the lead up to their week 14 game. That has left rookie Courtland Sutton as the main receiving weapon to go along with DaeSean Hamilton and Jeff Heuerman. Oakland’s pass defense isn’t amazing, rankings 16th in the league, but it is their strong point and where the team has the best chance to turn the game around if they can take advantage of Denver’s weaker pass offense.

Oakland Raiders (3-11)

The Raiders have little more to play for than pride. It’s been a tumultuous season in John Gruden’s first at the helm and Raiders fans must be dying a little bit inside every time Khalil Mack or Amari Cooper has a big game, which is more often than not these days. To make matters worse, the team’s surprise 24-21 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 14 all but ruled them out of the number one pick in next year’s draft. There’s almost nothing they can do right.


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Why They Will Win

One thing that the Raiders have going for them is Derek Carr. Despite the terrible team play, Carr has been relatively solid. He has nine straight games without an interception, spanning 299 pass attempts which is the longest active streak in the NFL and a franchise record. He has thrown 3,697 yards so far this year, along with 19 touchdowns and eight picks. He’s just 303 yards short of 4k and he’s got two more games to reach the mark, the first time he would have hit the milestone in his five year career.

Back in the week 2 encounter, Carr threw 288 yards on 90.6% completions (29 of 32) and one touchdown. The Broncos are pretty bad against defending the pass, ranking 25th in the NFL with 258 pass yards allowed a week, but they can get after the quarterback. They’ve registered 42 sacks on the year, so for Carr to be able to do his things, his offensive line needs to keep him on his feet.

And Why They Won’t

The Oakland Raiders are one of just seven teams averaging under 100 yards rushing. It’s the biggest plight on their already miserable season. Coming off a 30-16 loss against the equally struggling Cincinnati Bengals, the Raiders had a total of just 68 yards. Doug Martin led the team with 39.

It doesn’t help a whole lot that their offensive line has been injury riddled but 99.1 yards a game and only seven rushing touchdowns on the season is a pretty damning stat. For Derek Carr to be able to do his thing, he’ll need the run game to stand up, even a little bit.


Anything can happen in a divisional showdown, but this one doesn’t have a lot going for it as far as outcomes go. There are some intriguing storylines to keep things interesting. Will Chubb get his sack record? Will Carr get his 4k? Will Lindsay join the 1k crew? (Spoiler alert: he’s on 991 yards. He will.)

Final:  Denver 27Oakland 21


Monday Night Football Betting Tips

Denver hits at 6-7-1 ATS on the year and the Raiders are even worse off, covering the spread in just five of their 14 games. The stats drop a little bit when I looked further into it. The Broncos are 2-6 ATS in their last eight AFC West matchups. Oakland is 1-4 ATS in their past five games against teams with a losing record.

Total Points Over/Under

Monday’s points total is set at a rather modest 43 points, but even still the under is a perfect 7-0 in Denver’s past seven games. They also have a 12-3 record on the under against the last 15 teams with a losing record. Better yet, the under is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two sides.


Denver -3 (-110), Total Points Under 43.5 (-110)


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