Free NFL Pick: Denver at Oakland 12-19-2010

December 19, 2010

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Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Sunday December 19th, 2010 4:15 PM EST

Line: Oakland -8

Overview:

The Broncos organization is in shambles. Ex head coach Josh McDaniels gutted the franchise and left a path of destruction with every turn he made. The Broncos are in a valley and it is shocking that the organization gave McDaniels so much power that he was able to do damage that probably set the franchise back ten years. Last week, they got blown away by the Cardinals in a 30 point loss.

The Raiders are 6-7 this season, but they have made strides. They have lost three of their last four and have hit a low point, but look like they may be able to bounce back against the lowly Broncos. This is one of the most bitter rivalries in sports and when one of them is down, the other shows zero remorse.

Keys to the Game:

  • Tim Tebow is getting his first career start. This is an interesting move, as the only thing the Broncos have been able to do this season is throw the ball well. It is very possible that the Broncos want to evaluate what their first round pick is actually worth. Tim Tebow lost his biggest supporter in Josh McDaniels and management probably wants to see exactly what they are working with. Tebow can’t hurt this lost season and he will certainly improve the run game to some extent.
  • Darren McFadden hit 123 yards last week, giving him seven games of 95 yards or more this season. He has enjoyed a break out year and has given the Raiders an identity. The Raiders have youth in their receiving corp and a quarterback who can take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. McFadden gives them an elite running back and something to build around.
  • It is unclear as to how Brandon Lloyd and the rest of the Denver offense will react to Tim Tebow. Lloyd has had one of the best seasons of any wide receiver in NFL this season. Knowshon Moreno has been somewhat of a non factor and the offensive line is not accustomed to blocking for a guy who likes to tuck the ball.
  • Jason Campbell has thrown eight touchdowns and two picks since week seven. He threw for over 300 yards in his last appearance and looks like he is coming into his own. The run game is clicking and if the passing game ever catches up, the Raiders are going to be a dangerous offense no matter who they face. He has a group of developing receivers, but nobody has really stepped up and become a go to guy.

Key Matchup:

Knowshon Moreno Vs. The Oakland run defense

  • Knowshon Moreno has had a disappointing season in the pass happy offense Denver runs, but he has been effective since the bye week when the Broncos do give him carries. He has surpassed the 100 yard mark twice this season and will look to chalk up another one. If Tim Tebow had been under center from day one, the playbook would be more conducive to his strengths, which would play into Moreno’s strengths.
  • The Raider defense needs to focus on getting penetration. Not only will it rattle the young quarterback under center, it will also make sure Moreno doesn’t give the Broncos any reason to believe they can win this game.

Wrap up:

The Broncos are one of the worst teams in the NFL at this point. They were driven into the ground by a head coach who simply didn’t know what he was doing and are paying dearly for it. Last week will tell you everything you need to know about where this team is and where they are headed. I like the Raiders in an easy win.

Free NFL Pick: Oakland -8


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