Broncos vs Raiders – NFL Picks and Parlays 12/24/18
The Denver Broncos more or less kissed their hopes of making the playoffs goodbye with a loss against the Cleveland Browns at home last week. But while the Broncos and Raiders are both out of playoff contention, they still have this rivalry game to look forward to on the last Monday Night Football game of the year.
Denver is tied for 14th in the NFL, averaging 5.6 yards per play on the season. But their 21.9 points per game put them in a tie with the New York Giants for 20th in the league. They have been the quintessential between the 20s team, moving the ball down the field nicely until they get near the red zone, before they have to settle for field goals.
On the ground, the Broncos average 5.0 yards per carry, putting them in a tie for second in the league in rushing average. Phillip Lindsay is the best story in the NFL this season, needing just nine yards to get to 1,000 for the season as an undrafted rookie. But Lindsay has put up just 54 yards on 28 carries over his last two games, which is an average of less than two yards per carry.
The passing game is where Denver has struggled this season, as they average 6.4 yards per pass attempt this season. That is tied for the 24th best passing average this season. Case Keenum’s struggles have been a big reason why the Broncos haven’t scored more than 24 points in seven weeks.
Denver’s defense allows 5.8 yards per play for the season, good for a tie for 19th in the league. Their 21.4 points per game allowed this season are good for 10th in the NFL. Denver’s defense has been highly regarded this season, but a lot of their numbers haven’t matched their reputation.
Against the run, the Broncos give up 4.6 yards per carry to opposing rushers, putting them in 20th position in the league this season. The Raiders aren’t a great running team, relying on backups in the backfield at the moment, but Denver will still need to dig in here.
And against the pass, Denver gives up 7.2 yards per attempt, which is tied for the 23rd spot for the year. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are great at getting to the quarterback, but the Denver secondary has been a disaster this season. Opposing wide receivers have been able to run like Broncos uncontested down the field.
Raiders Week 16 Outlook
The Raiders are tied for 19th in the league offensively, averaging a total of 5.5 yards per play. Their 18.6 points per game put them in 29th place in the league, ahead of just the Cardinals, Bills, and Jaguars for the season. This is clearly not what Jon Gruden had in mind when he took the Raiders job.
Oakland is 20th in the league on the ground, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The plan this season was to start Marshawn Lynch, which probably wasn’t a great idea itself, before he got hurt. Now the Raiders are trotting out the remains of Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and whatever else is in the back of their refrigerator.
And the Raiders are tied for 13th in the league in passing offense, averaging a nice 6.9 yards per attempt through the air. Derek Carr is the perfect middle of the road quarterback. Good enough statistically to be worth keeping around, but not good enough to carry a team. Carr can expect to run for his life in this game against Chubb and Miller.
There isn’t a worse defense in the league than the Oakland Raiders, as they give up a league-worst 6.3 yards per play. Their 29.9 points allowed for the season is also the worst of any team in pro football. When your offense is only better than the Cardinals, Bills and Jaguars, and it is the strength of your team, you have one bad defense.
Oakland is tied for 23rd in the league against the run, giving up 4.8 yards per carry. Against the pass, the Raiders are dead last, giving up 8.0 yards per attempt to opposing passers. That makes them the only team in the league giving up 8.0 or more yards per pass attempt this season.
Broncos vs. Raiders Trends
The Broncos come into this game at 6-8 straight up on the season and 6-7-1 against the spread. Denver has been playing well on the road, going 4-1 against the spread in their last five games away from home. But the Broncos are just 8-17-1 against the spread in their last 26 games, as the Vance Joseph era has not gone well for them. On Monday Night Football, they are 2-8-2 against the spread in their last 12 appearances.
Oakland is a 3-11 team straight up this year, and has gone 5-9 against the spread as well. They are 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 games, are 4-9-1 against the spread in their last 14 Monday Night Football games, and have gone 1-4 against the spread this season against teams with losing records. Even teams who are below average this year have been covering the spread against the Raiders, with the Broncos looking to join that list.
If the Raiders were smart they would be in full-on tank mode at this point in the season. Unfortunately for them, Jon Gruden isn’t what you might consider to be smart, and they’ll try and get the win here.