With the AFC West already in hand, the Denver Broncos can take a big step towards securing home-field advantage in the divisional round when they visit the Oakland Raiders.
Denver has not lost since the beginning weekend of October. And the Raiders will be carrying a five-game losing streak.
When: Thursday, December 6, at 8:20 p.m. EST.
Where: O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA
Watch: NFL Network or live stream
Pick Against The Spread: Denver (-10.5)
The Broncos play a different sport than the Raiders. Peyton Manning orchestrating an offense is a thing of beauty while Carson Palmer's version is just a thing. Unimaginative and lifeless. Von Miller will continue his assault on the record books while poor Marcel Reece labors as the only firing piston of the Raiders' franchise.
Over/Under Pick: Over 48
Manning unleashing Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the NFL's worst scoring defense is going to result in points. Don't make it complicated. And since Carson Palmer will be throwing on nearly every down, one of those passes is bound to end up in the end zone. He just has yet to determine which team he'll be tossing the touchdown to.
Key Injuries (via USA TODAY)
Broncos: G Chris Kuper (ankle, probable); CB Tracy Porter (illness, probable); WR Brandon Stokley (wrist/hip, questionable); and WR Demaryius Thomas (knee, probable).
Raiders: S Tyvon Branch (neck, probable); S Matt Giordano (concussion, questionable); RB Mike Goodson (ankle, questionable); RB Taiwan Jones (ankle, probable); RB Darren McFadden (ankle, questionable); QB Carson Palmer (right thumb, probable); RB Marcel Reece (hamstring/quadriceps, probable); and DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring, out).
Fantasy Big Plays
Marcel Reece should be played in all PPR leagues regardless of any other running back's health. He's proven himself too valuable to sit on the bench.
Knownshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman might look like enticing options with Willis McGahee out for the season, but this situation is far from figured out. Not even John Fox knows who's going to get more carries at this point.
Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are both going to have huge days. No need to worry if one will cut too far into the other's production.
Keys To A Broncos Victory
Just continue letting Peyton Manning do his thing. The reason Denver hasn't lost in forever is under center. He's making beautiful music and mounting a serious MVP campaign.
On defense, Denver only needs to contain. Don't let any of the speedster wide receivers burn the defensive backs for a big play. The Raiders' offense will make a mistake eventually.
Keys To A Raiders Victory
The running game must be the dominant factor in this game. Palmer is not going to match Manning throw for throw. McFadden and Reece will need to control the clock for the Raiders to have a chance.
The Raiders must generate some type of pass rush. There just isn't enough talent in the secondary to compete with the Broncos passing attack.
Broncos 45, Raiders 17