Matchup Advantage to Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos

Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis (61) lines up to snap the football across from Oakland Raiders nose tackle Denico Autry (96) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Many around the NFL have the Denver Broncos beating the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. They don’t even have it close but a close examination of the matchup says otherwise.

After over a decade off, the rivalry between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders is back! And the franchises will have a showdown for AFC West supremacy Sunday. They both sit at 6-2, tied for first in the AFC West until the end of this game.

Many are leaning heavily toward the Denver Broncos out of respect to a defending champion. Then there is the respect that goes to their defense that’s No. 3 in the NFL right now. They’re also tied for No. 1 in the NFL in sacks with 26.

They QB Trevor Siemian, who’s nothing special with the No. 27-ranked offense.  Within the overall ranking, the Broncos are No. 27 throwing the ball and No. 20 running it. But that offense keeps the turnovers down and doesn’t mess things up for the defense.

On the other side, the Raiders are No. 5 in total offense—No. 4 in passing and No. 8 in rushing. Then on defense, they’re No. 31 overall—No. 17 against the pass and No. 28 against the run. But there are a few factors in this that tilt this thing toward the Raiders.

Turn the page to see what they are.

October 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith (21) intercepts the football against San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) during the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders Defense vs Broncos Offense

The Raiders gave up 1,035 yards in the first two games this season and wasn’t much better the next three. That’s a deep hole to dig out of so the defense likely won’t be ranked high this season. But the Broncos’ No. 27-ranked offense will see a better defense Sunday.

The Raiders have allowed 340 yards per game in the last three games and that’s Top-10 defense. CB Sean Smith is back and S Karl Joseph became a starter so the deep ball no longer kills them. ILB Perry Riley Jr. has joined the team so TEs don’t kill them anymore either.

QB Trevor Siemian’s 214 yards per game, eight TDs and four INTs scare no one. The Broncos are tied for No. 11 in sacks given up with 18 too. Meanwhile, Khalil Mack is rolling now with four sacks in the last three games after his customary slow start.

Riley also strengthens the Raiders against the run along with Mack as RB C.J. Anderson injured now. The Broncos are No 20 running the ball and that’s with Anderson. The Raiders only allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 72 yards rushing in their last game too.

Oct 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders Offense vs Broncos Defense

This matchup is going to be why NFL fans and players will have their popcorn ready Sunday night. Derek Carr’s explosive, No. 5-ranked offense will go against the Broncos’ No. 3-ranked defense. The Broncos are the NFL’s best in coverage and pressuring the QB so far.

But Raiders WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are the most productive duo in the NFL. The Broncos are tied for the most sacks while the Raiders allow the least amount of sacks in the NFL. This will likely be the battle that decides who wins the game.

But keep in mind, the Broncos play six of eight games against bottom-feeder 10 pass-protecting teams. They haven’t played a single game against a Top-10 pass-protecting team. Meanwhile the Broncos will be the third top-sacking team in the NFL the Raiders play.

And the Broncos’ run defense isn’t the same at No. 23, giving up 4.3 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Raiders are No. 8 in rushing and average 4.8 yards per carry right now. Carr can get that Broncos secondary in spots without CB Aquib Talib if the Raiders run.

Oct 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts to fans after the beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime at Raymond James Stadium. Oakland Raiders defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bottom Line

The old rivalry is back and the Raiders should be favored to win this one at home. Statistically, it’s the Raiders great offense vs the Broncos great defense and the Broncos bad offense vs the Raiders bad defense. That type of matchup usually favors the Broncos.

But that’s not the whole thing here because the Raiders have played Top-10 defense of late. Plus the Raiders run the ball well while the Broncos don’t defend the run well this year. So we have the Raiders with the advantage here with the running game.

But the biggest thing tipping the scales in favor of the Raiders is the absence of Talib. Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby are good players but they both have to play up a level. Harris has to cover a WR 1 and Roby has to cover a WR 2.

And that leaves the CB 4 to cover Seth Roberts, that guy the caught the game-winner in Week 8. Plus the Broncos are on the road, where they can be had, without the crowd noise aid the pass-rush. So it’s advantage Raiders as they match up well with the Broncos.

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