The 6-8 Denver Broncos:
Trying to stop a two-game losing skid, the 6-8 Denver Broncos could use a Week 16 win on their quest to break even for the season and regain the momentum they lost to the Browns, 16-17, in front of their home crowd in Week 15.
Broncos’ quarterback Case Keenum completed 31-of-48 for 257 yards, but that resulted in no touchdowns and two interceptions, made slightly better by his 1-yard touchdown run for a first quarter touchdown.
Denver is 3-4 on the road and 2-2 in their division, which includes their Week 2 win over the Raiders by just a point, 20-19, but they’ll be playing against Oakland’s home crowd who are most probably saying goodbye, so that in itself will be tough to overcome.
The 3-11 Oakland Raiders:
Not much has gone right for the 3-11 Oakland Raiders this season, despite new head coach Jon Gruden’s best efforts, including a Week 15 drubbing by the struggling Cincinnati Bengals and their backup quarterback, 16-30.
Raider quarterback Derek Carr actually had respectable game numbers in that one, completing 21-of-38 for 263 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, but he was sacked five times in the game, which limited his effectiveness.
Oakland is neither good at home (2-5) or against divisional rivals (0-4) so it will take whatever home crowd energy they can muster and feed off to upset the Broncos, the better team in this one.
What’s at stake:
These two teams have met 118 times (including 2 postseason games), with Oakland winning 63 games and Denver winning 53 games. The Broncos have won 11 of the last fourteen meetings, their last win this season in Week 2 by a score of 20-19.
If the Broncos win this matchup, their record will be 7-8 and they’d remain in third place in the AFC West, but they’d have a chance to end the season with a .500 record if they can beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17.
But if the Raiders come out on top, they’ll be 4-11 and though they’d remain in the AFC West basement, they’d have given their hometown Oakland fans a final night to remember at what could be the last Raiders game played in their city.
Questions to answer…
Who’s favored to win this Week 16 Broncos-Raiders matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Broncos and the Raiders and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Broncos offense ranked 18th in the NFL
Denver scores an average of 21.9 points and moves the ball a total of 352 yards per game.
Quarterback Keenum has thrown the ball for 3,396 yards this season but for only 15 touchdowns and even worse, for 12 interceptions, tied for 7th most in the league.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has two games left to achieve a 1000+ yard season, currently at 868 yards off 71 catches with 4 touchdowns.
Broncos’ rushing attack based on Lindsay
The big surprise in Denver this season was running back Phillip Lindsay, a local product making good and ranked 5th overall with 991 yards on the ground and 9 touchdowns.
Lindsay can also catch, with 33 snags for 230 yards and a touchdown, his longest reception a 29-yarder.
Denver offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 16: wide receiver Courtland Sutton (quad) and tight end Matt LaCosse (foot).
The 2018 Raiders offense ranked 23rd overall
The Raiders only score an average of 18.6 points per game (ranked 29th) and they move the ball a total of 344 yards a game which puts them in the lower half of the league in that category.
Though quarterback Carr is having a top-ten ranked season in terms of production with 3,697 yards thrown for 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, he’s been sacked 47 times this season and only two quarterbacks have been sacked more.
The most productive Oakland receiver this season has actually been their tight end Jared Cook, who has caught 63 balls for 848 yards and six touchdowns.
Oakland’s run game 26th in the league
The Raiders’ Rushers average just 99 total yards on the ground per game, led by Doug Martin and Jalen Richard ever since Marshawn Lynch (groin) was placed on injured reserve in Week 8.
Martin has 146 touches with 622 total yards from scrimmage for 3 touchdowns but 2 fumbles, while Richard has had 110 touches for 797 yards from scrimmage and no touchdowns but 3 fumbles.
Oakland offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 16: fullback Keith Smith (calf), tight end Lee Smith (back) and center Rodney Hudson (ankle).
Guard Gabe Jackson (elbow) and offensive tackle Donald Penn (leg) were both put on injured reserve, neither expected to play again this season.
Broncos Defense ranks 25th in the league
One of the reasons Denver’s defense is ranked low is because they allow opponents to move the ball 378 total yards per game, but they’re ranked tenth in points allowed with 21.4.
The Broncos’ rush defense is ranked 20th and their pass defense is ranked 25th, but they somehow have tallied 15 interceptions (T-5th most) and 42 sacks (6th most).
Broncos Defensive Players to watch:
The best Bronco tacklers so far this season are inside linebacker Todd Davis, who has 104 combined, and free safety Justin Simmons, who has 91.
If you like watching quarterbacks panic, keep your eyes on Denver’s outside linebackers, who have 26.5 sacks between them – Von Miller, who has 14.5 sacks, T-2nd most in the league, and rookie Bradley Chubb, who has 12.0 sacks, T-8th most overall.
With three interceptions apiece, cornerback Chris Harris and free safety Justin Simmons keep opposing quarterbacks honest.
Broncos defensive injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 16: linebackers Shaquil Barrett (hip) and Brandon Marshall (undisclosed) and cornerbacks Brendan Langley (concussion), Chris Harris Jr. (lower leg) and Isaac Yiadom (shoulder).
Raiders Defense is 26th overall
No NFL team allows opponents to score more points per game than the Raiders do (29.9), and the 378 total yards they allow opponents per game is ranked 26th.
Oakland’s rush defense is dead last, while their pass defense is ranked 16th with 11 interceptions (T-19th) but with just 12 team sacks (32nd, dead last).
Raiders Defensive Players to watch:
One of the members of the 100+ tackle club this season is Raiders’ outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who has 108 combined tackles, 8 for a loss.
The Raiders don’t sack much, but defensive tackle Maurice Hurst has 4.0 of them, which is one-third the team’s total.
Gareon Conley is active in the Oakland secondary with 13 passes defended, 34 combine tackles and 2 interceptions, one of which he ran back 36-yards for a touchdown in Week 4 in the 3-point win against the Browns.
Raiders Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 16: cornerback Daryl Worley (shoulder), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and safety Karl Joseph (neck).
Special Teams Stats Comparison
Denver’s rookie punter, Colby Wadman, was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster in September following an injury to Marquette King.
So far, Wadman has punted 53 times for a net average of 39.8 yards per punt, ranked T-17th in the league.
Oakland’s rookie punter, Johnny Townsend, was drafted in the fifth-round and has punted 61 times but for a net average of 37.7 yards per punt, ranked 34th in the NFL.
Denver’s placekicker, Brandon McManus, in his fifth season (all with the Broncos), is 19-for-23, his longest was a 53-yarder.
McManus hasn’t missed any extra point attempts (33/33), one of only ten place kickers who have been perfect in that category.
Oakland’s placekicker, Daniel Carlson, was acquired this offseason from the Vikings and now starts for injured starter Mike Nugent (hip).
So far, Carlson is 13-for-14, his longest was a 50-yarder and he hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (15/15).
Denver’s punt returner, wide receiver River Cracraft, is ranked 69th in the league.
Cracraft has returned 10 punts for 37 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 3.7 yards per return, his longest for 20 yards.
Oakland’s punt returner, wide receiver Dwayne Harris, is ranked 19th in the league in return average.
Harris has returned 18 punts for 175 yards and a touchdown, averaging 9.7 yards per return, his longest was for 49 yards.
Broncos–Raiders prediction and odds
The odds makers have the Broncos favored over the Raiders by 3 with an over/under of 43.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the under and the underdog has it Raiders 23, Broncos 17
John Breech takes the under and the underdog and predicts it Raiders 20, Broncos 17