Ron Glover’s Thursday Night NFL Pick: Denver Broncos (9-3) vs. Oakland Raiders (3-9): If you can find a reason to watch, good for you
Peyton Manning and the Broncos are looking for a season sweep of the Raiders.
There was once a time where the Broncos and Raiders getting it on meant the AFC West title hung in the balance. Nowadays, it triggers a search for the remote control to see what else is happening. Tonight could be one of those nights.
The Raiders best chance for an upset lies in the return of running back Darren McFadden. McFadden missed the last four games with a high-ankle sprain. Carson Palmer needs to spend his evening handing off to McFadden, then pick his spots with the hopes of catching the Broncos secondary napping. The Raiders have lost five straight games and are headed to their tenth consecutive season without a playoff appearance.
Palmer has his own demons to exercise when it comes to the Broncos. In his own four-game skid against Denver, Palmer has thrown five touchdowns and seven picks. McFadden was held to 34 yards on 13 carries when the teams met earlier this season. Prior to that game, McFadden had averaged 144 yards in three previous meetings.
The Raiders are last in scoring defense. They are 28th against the run and 25th against the pass.
If the Broncos are smart they will not let the Raiders hang around. Oakland has been outscored 189-96 in their last five games. If they can shut down the run and keep McFadden in check, Carson Palmer will be theirs for the taking.
Peyton Manning shredded the Raiders in their September 30th meeting. The NFL Comeback Player of the Year candidate was 30 for 38 for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-6 thumping.
Despite the futility of the Raiders, the Broncos still have plenty to play for tonight. Denver is fourth among the AFC division leaders behind Houston, New England and Baltimore (due to tie breakers). The Broncos still have a great shot of finishing undefeated in the division.
Prediction: I don’t expect Oakland to hang around too long. I won’t discount the Raiders completely, but this is a team that gives up points at a ridiculous rate and Manning will look to take advantage once again.
Broncos 33 – Raiders 17