College Football Pick
Denver heads to Oakland Sunday for what could be the first of two pivotal matchups between the two AFC West division rivals. That’s because the two are tied atop the division with 6-2 records. To the winner goes the lead for the second seed — what would be a bye — in the NFL Playoffs. The stakes are big. Not to mention, these two could play for the same come Week 17 when they play each other again, in Denver. This one pairs one of the league’s top offenses and one of the top defenses. It’s listed as a pick ’em with an over/under of 43.5 by the 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Broncos rank 3rd in the NFL, allowing just 301.3 yards per Game. They have the league’s best pass defense, giving up only 183.9 yards a Game through the air. against the run, they aren’t as good as they allow 117.4 yards per Game — 24th in the NFL.
The good news is they will take their NFL-best pass defense up against the league’s 4th best pass offense. Derek Carr and company are throwing for an average of 285.1 yards per Game. But Oakland also ranks 8th-best with their running attack, averaging 116.5 yards per Game on the ground. The total comes to 401.6 yards per Game — 5th-best in the NFL.
Carr is coming off a career-best performance with 513 passing yards, Four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Raiders’ overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have formed a trio that is very difficult to slow down. That is exactly what the Broncos’ defense will be tasked with doing.
Oakland’s defense does not have the luxury of being known as a defense that can enforce its will upon its opponents. The Raiders’ D is 31st in the league in yards allowed per Game (410.4). They rank 28th in the league in both run and pass defense.
C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker were combining to average right about 100 yards per Game on the ground. Anderson went for 4.0 yards per attempt but is on the injured reserve. Booker gains 4.3 yards per carry. These numbers should run higher than normal against a defense as porous as Oakland’s.
Trevor Siemian has been good, not great, in his first year as a starter in the NFL. He’s throwing for an average of 236.5 yards per Game when he plays the majority of the Game (once he’s been forced out early due to injury). Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are averaging more than 137 receiving yards combined on the season, making up well over half of the yards Siemian throws for each Game.
Our Pick – Broncos -1.5