Time: 4:25 p.m. ET, October 17, 2021
Venue: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Where to watch: CBS
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Broncos -3.5
BetMGM: Broncos -3.5
Caesars: Broncos -3.5
Raiders: 3-2 (T-2nd, AFC West)
Broncos: 3-2 (T-2nd, AFC West)
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Raiders - Broncos preview and analysis
Raiders: lost 20-9 vs. Bears in Week 5
Broncos: lost 27-19 at Steelers in Week 5
Boy, oh boy. The Las Vegas Raiders, ladies and gents.
And you thought losing two straight after a 3-0 start was the biggest problem they had to deal with.
Jon Gruden has "resigned," if you even want to call it that, as coach of the Raiders. Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia will take over the reigns this Sunday when the suddenly struggling Raiders head to Mile High to face the Denver Broncos, also losers of two in a row.
Gruden is now gone after a report from The New York Times surfaced of emails he exchanged with former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen covering a whole range of topics we don't need to get to here. Either way, Gruden is rightfully gone and the Raiders can move on without this being a distraction.
On the field, the Raiders' offense has suddenly fizzled after it's red-hot start. Las Vegas has scored 23 points combined the past week after averaging 30 a game the first three weeks. Derek Carr was held to just 206 yards and an interception, quickly putting an end to his MVP campaign as quickly as it started.
The Raiders offense was held to under 200 yards for most of last Sunday until garbage time. The Chicago Bears, notably former Raider pass rusher Khalil Mack, made life hell for Carr and the offense.
That's not to say Las Vegas didn't have its chances. Young receiver Bryan Edwards dropped a potential 70-yard pass that would've put the Raiders in field goal range on the first drive of the second half. That was only a microcosm of how bad the passing game was. Darren Waller had only 45 yards on four receptions, while Hunter Renfrow was held to 56 yards on six catches.
It's certainly a contrast of two teams on two-game losing streaks heading into this week. The Broncos are coming off an 8-point loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in what we could call a blown opportunity for Denver. The Steelers have not been good this season, and not even that stout defense could contain Pittsburgh long enough.
Teddy Bridgewater continues to play well for the Broncos after throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Courtland Sutton has emerged as a true No. 1 in Denver after seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown, playing very well in the absence of leading receiver Jerry Jeudy. You have to think the passing attack will be stellar once the second-year wideout returns.
The problem was the Denver offense, but not to that extent. The Broncos were 2 of 12 on third down, stunting the offense's day of production. Denver also scored 13 of its 19 points in the fourth quarter.
"We can't wait until the game is out of hand to have a sense of urgency," Bridgewater said.
The loser is likely finding itself with the Kansas City Chiefs in last place, which is still a weird concept to grasp.
I will say this: The Raiders loved Gruden as a coach. For at least the time being, that's going to be a distraction. Going on the road to face an improved Denver team will be a tough ask, and if that offensive line struggles again like it did against the Bears, it'll be a field day for Von Miller and co. Broncos by 10
The Raiders are 6-17 against the spread since 1992 coming off an upset loss by 10 points or more.
The Raiders are 19-42 ATS in the last 30 years after scoring seven points or less in the first half in consecutive games.
Denver is 3-3 ATS as a home favorite in the last three years.
Players to watch
Raiders: Wide receiver Henry Ruggs is looking for his fifth consecutive game of at least 50 receiving yards.
Broncos: Receiver Tim Patrick has at least five receptions and 85 yards in two of his last three games.
Passing: Derek Carr -- 1,605 yards, 8 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Peyton Barber -- 143 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Darren Waller -- 319 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Solomon Thomas -- 2.5 sacks
Passing: Teddy Bridgewater -- 1,180 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Melvin Gordon -- 282 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Courtland Sutton -- 377 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Von Miller -- 4.5 sacks
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