In what will come as a surprise to nobody, Denver has been the NFL’s best team through the first 2 games. Peyton Manning had a ridiculous 7 touchdown passes in week one and had his Broncos lighting up the scoreboard in Giants Stadium during week 2 with 31 of those points coming in the second half. Eight different receivers caught passes in the game including 9 for 87 yards from Eric Decker. The Raiders looked like the typical pile of blunders they usually are in week one collecting several avoidable penalties. In week two they had only 5 penalties for 30 yards and looked strong defensively in their win over Jacksonville. The Jaguars are likely the worst team in the league so it is difficult to figure out exactly what type of momentum the 19-9 win will provide the Raiders.
The Raiders are built to run the ball with oft injured but stud running back Darren McFadden, who is capable of being the best back in football. He had 19 carries for 129 yards with a long run of 30 yards. Anytime your tailback averages almost 7 yards a carry it is likely to be a good day. Terrell Pryor was not overly impressive in the win going 15-24 with no touchdowns. However he did not throw an interception and he also contributed to the running game with 9 carries for 50 yards. Jacksonville was decimated by stupid penalties and an offense that looked like it was going nowhere fast. Veteran quarterback Chad Henne stepped in for the injured Blaine Gabbert and was unimpressive against a tough Oakland defense that looks to be following the lead of the long time Raider Charles Woodson who came back to the organization he started with in the offseason.
The Broncos are playing without All Pro linebacker Von Miller and future Hall of Fame corner Champ Bailey and yet they still look like an elite defense. The offense looks amazing and it’s not just the play of Manning. The running back by committee led to 13 carries for Knowshon Moreno and 12 for rookie Montee Ball. The difference is that Ball only had 14 yards on his dozen carries while Moreno had 93 yards and 2 touchdowns with his share of the carries. It looks like he has taken the lead and will likely be receiving more attempts in week 3. Tight End Julius Thomas was a relative unknown going into the season and has quickly become Manning’s go to guy over the middle. He has 11 catches for 157 yards and three touchdowns.
With a spread of over 2 touchdowns it is clear that Denver is the heavy favorite. The Raiders have always been big rivals with Denver and will be looking to go into Mile High Stadium and pull off the upset. The upset is highly unlikely, however there is a good chance that the Raiders establish their ground game and ignite this rivalry on Monday night.
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