Free NFL Picks: Oakland at Denver 10-24-2010

October 22, 2010

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Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

Sunday October 24th, 2010 4:15

Line: Denver -8

Overview:

In their last four outings, the 2-4 Denver Broncos have faced the Colts, Titans, Ravens, and Jets. They finally get an opponent that they are favored against in the 2-4 Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have not been able to come away with a win on the road this season, even losing to the 0-5 49ers last week by eight. This is one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL, which generally makes for a closer game. Given that the Broncos are at home and the opponents they have faced recently, the line is set a bit high for two teams with even records.

Keys to the Game:

  • He’s baaaaack. Darren McFadden racked up 392 yards in just four games to start off the season. Unfortunately, he suffered a hamstring injury that knocked him out for two games. The Raiders do not want to push McFadden back into the lineup too soon, but giving him a fair amount of carries and splitting his work load with Michael Bush will be a good way to ease him back into the lineup. The Raiders have a solid running attack, regardless of who is in the backfield. Now with McFadden returning, the Broncos could find themselves with their hands full. The Broncos allow 127.7 yards on the ground. They have gone up against Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, Ladanian Tomlinson, and Ray Rice already this season, but have done little to stop them. They only came away with one victory when they faced a running back of that caliber and it is no secret that they struggle against the run. Look for a heavy dose of the Raiders running attack.
  • Brandon Lloyd leads the NFL in receiving with 663 yards. Kyle Orton probably would have loved to have Brandon Marshall stay in Denver for at least one more year, but Brandon Lloyd has filled in beautifully in the number one position. Nnamdi Asomugha is a lock down corner, but he isn’t invincible. Malcom Flloyd torched Asomugha for 213 yards in one game earlier this year. Orton likes to share the wealth, so even if Lloyd struggles, he will still put up big numbers. He has already thrown for the second most yards this season. The Broncos are a one dimensional football team. They like to air out the ball and rank dead last in rushing offense. The Raiders don’t have an elite pass rusher to pin their ears back and go, but they do have the personnel to attack Orton should he completely abandon the run game, which is likely.
  • Jason Campbell looks like he is going to get the start with Bruce Gradkowski sitting out with a shoulder injury. Campbell does not give the Raiders the best chance to win. He is a feast or famine quarterback, which does not bode well for leading a west coast offense. Campbell needs to utilize Zach Miller more often. He has Louis Murphy and Darren McFadden down the field and while that may be appealing, Miller is the target that is going to move the chains. The Raiders already have a solid running game to help Campbell out. As of right now, it doesn’t look like Gradkowski is going to have any competition at quarterback when he is healthy, but Campbell could still pull out a victory if he goes for high percentage throws like he did against San Diego.

Wrap Up:

Denver might be better than Oakland, but I don’t think they are going to be able to embarrass them. The Raiders are in disarray, but their game last week against the 49ers was a lot closer than the eight point deficit they ended the game with. While I think the Broncos come away with a victory, the Raiders secondary should slow the passing game of the Broncos and the running game is nonexistent.

Free NFL Pick: Oakland +8


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