The NFL spotlight once again focuses on Denver tonight during the Broncos’ Monday Night Football matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
Even though you wouldn’t know it by watching the NFL promos, the Raiders actually will be playing in the game. How much of a fight they put up is anyone’s guess.
Yes, Oakland looked better than expected in a week one loss against the Indianapolis Colts, and they did manage a 19-9 victory over the pathetic Jacksonville Jaguars in week two, but they come into tonight’s game as a massive underdog in a place where the Broncos rarely lose with Peyton Manning under center.
Denver comes in having destroyed the last two Super Bowl Champions without breaking a sweat, even without the services of their two best defensive players. They lead the league in total offense, and the defense has been stout having given up most of their points in garbage time.
The biggest question mark for Denver is at left tackle. Pro Bowler Ryan Clady was sent to the injured reserve last week after sustaining a season ending foot injury against the New York Giants. That’s a big loss for sure, but the Broncos have faith that backup Chris Clark can pick up the slack and the offense won’t miss a beat. That will be important considering the Raiders surprisingly led the league in sacks after two weeks.
Still, with Manning at the helm and the best receiving corps in the league at his disposal, expect to see the Broncos continue their streak of scoring at least 40 points. That would leave a tall order for young Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
It’s not easy to put up that many points against this Broncos defense, especially in a place where the old home field advantage has returned with a vengeance. Oakland simply won’t be able to win a shootout in Denver, and Pryor will make some big mistakes while trying to keep pace with Manning.
I expect Mile High to be rocking tonight, and I expect this Broncos game to follow the script of the first two: Denver starts slow and lets the opponent have a little hope early, but then slowly but surely turns it into at least a 20 point lead in the second half.
The Raiders may be spryer than we anticipated so far into this young season, but they still are no match for the best in the AFC. Denver beats down the Raiders 45-20.