Is Kyle Orton ready?
That's what Denver Broncos fans are wondering as their most hated rival comes to town.
Sure it's only Week 1, but there are high stakes on Monday night when the Oakland Raiders kick off their season against the Broncos. Both John Fox and Hue Jackson begin their inaugural seasons at the helm looking to have an early leg up in the wide open AFC West.
The main element to watch for is how the new-look Broncos defense jells during the game. Stopping the Oakland running game is essential.
Here are the details on everything you need to know for Monday night's game.
Note: Betting Lines According to Bodog
TV Info: 10:15 PM EST, ESPN
Odds are this one will vault past the over. Orton isn't afraid to extend the field with the deep ball and the young secondary is a work in progress.
The Raiders running attack demolished the Broncos a season ago as they outscored their AFC West rival 98-37 in two meetings. Darren McFadden ran for a career-high 165 yards en route to the Raiders putting up 59 points last October.
While the Broncos defense has shown signs of improvement and the return of Elvis Dumervil has been huge...they still have a long way to go.
Spread: (Broncos -3)
In addition to getting Dumervil back, the other big addition to the Broncos defense comes in the form of linebacker Von Miller. He has been a force in the preseason and the No. 2 overall pick is a strong candidate for rookie of the year. His ability to adjust on the fly will directly affect the entire unit.
If this duo can neutralize the Raiders run, the passing game will fall apart. Raiders QB Jason Campbell is a rhythm passer that excels when the chains are moving and the run is keeping teams honest. Stopping the run forces Campbell to do more than he's capable of and turnovers will follow.
With Fox's preference for the power running game that wears down the opposition, expect the Raiders D to be extremely fatigued by the fourth quarter. The first game back after a lockout-shortened offseason doesn't help either.
With the home crowd, big defensive additions and a more accomplished QB, expect the Broncos to win by more than a field goal.
Final Pregame Prediction:
Broncos 27, Raiders 17