TV Schedule: Monday, Sept. 23, 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Weather: Low 50, High 74
Line: Denver (-15.5)
The Denver Broncos could easily be the best team in the NFL. I say this because they are playing at the highest level that the organization has seen a team play in the past few seasons. Peyton Manning is playing at an MVP-type level this season so far and if he keeps his pace, he could have one of the best seasons of any quarterback in recent memory. The unbeaten Broncos have relied heavily on Manning who has passed for 769 yards and nine touchdowns through the first two weeks, but losing left tackle Ryan Clady for the season will hurt big-time when thinking about Manning’s blindside. Manning has four of the best targets in football in Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Eric Decker who all have 10 catches or more with over 100 yards each. Demaryius leads the team with 213 yards receiving and two scores. Knowshon Moreno has been solid so far, running the ball 22 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
On the other side of the field, the Oakland Raiders are coming off a win against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars — the game proved that neither team is that great. Terrelle Pryor has been a solid dual-threat quarterback so far, passing for 343 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 162 yards on 22 carries through two weeks. Darren McFadden has been the only other notable offensive weapon that has even made a dent on the opposition. He has 36 carries for 177 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Defensively, the Raiders have a solid defense, at least so far. Allowing just 80.5 yards on the ground and 180 yards in the air per game is a solid number for a team that’s not expected to do too much this season. However, the Broncos will have no problem scoring on the lowly Raiders. The Broncos have one of the best run-stopping defenses in the league. They rank first in the league in stopping the run with just 40.5 yards allowed per game, but the pass defense is struggling so far.
PREDICTION: Raiders 10, Broncos 44