Also playing for a new coach, Denver is 2-1 after an odd 11-10 win last weekend gave them back-to-back victories and a share of first place in the West.
Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Sunday, October 02, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Allegiant Stadium
It will be an AFC West rivalry showdown on Sunday afternoon as the Denver Broncos head to Las Vegas to face the Raiders.
Denver has won back-to-back games for new coach Nathaniel Hackett after a disappointing opening week loss. The most recent win was a weird 11-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in just the second NFL game in history to end with that score.
Despite being tied with Kansas City for the AFC West lead, the Broncos have serious questions about an offense that has failed to produce so far this season, as well as their first-year head coach, who has made some head-scratching decisions in his short tenure.
Still, the mood in Denver is far better than in Vegas. The Raiders are 0-3 after three straight heart-breaking losses. There’s speculation that new coach Josh McDaniels may already be on the hot seat following a disappointing loss to the Titans on Sunday. The Raiders have been outscored by just 13 total points in the losses. Seven teams with one win have better point differentials, but Las Vegas is the only NFL team to start the year 0-3.
The Broncos are 2-1 on the year despite scoring just 43 points. Only one NFL team has put fewer points on the board so far this season—the Colts, with 40. Kansas City, who shares the lead in the West with Denver, has more than doubled the Broncos, scoring 88.
Denver beat Houston by putting up just 16 points and got the win with 11 on Sunday night, after San Francisco took a safety when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo lost track of where he was on the field.
High-profile quarterback addition Russell Wilson has failed to produce so far. He’s been sacked nine times in three weeks and has thrown just two touchdowns. Running back Melvin Gordon isn’t much of an alternative. He’s fumbled three times in 42 carries this year, matching his fumble total for 231 carries all last season.
And none of that is Denver’s biggest concern. That would be Hackett, who has baffled fans and observers with some of his decisions in the first three weeks. The opener saw him mangle the end-of-game clock management, then make the odd call to go for a record 64-yard field goal attempt instead of trying to make a short fourth down and continue the potential last-minute scoring drive. His playcalling and use of time-outs also had people scratching their heads.
Rosburg to the Rescue
Perhaps as a direct result, the Broncos made a rare in-season coaching hire, bringing in veteran assistant Jerry Rosburg as a “senior assistant”.
His role essentially seems to be to stop Hackett from doing dumb things, and he paid immediate dividends in his first game on Sunday. He reportedly talked Hackett out of going for it on fourth down deep in his own territory.
The Denver defense, which has been a strength, suffered a loss on Sunday when lineman D.J. Jones entered the concussion protocol. His status will be up in the air for the Raiders game until later in the week.
The Raiders have had bad luck in all three games this season, coming up just short. In the opener, Las Vegas stormed back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to have the chance at a game-winning drive, only to have quarterback Derek Carr get strip-sacked. Carr also had three interceptions in the opening week.
The following week, the comeback went the other way, as the Raiders blew a 20-0 halftime lead to the Cardinals. On Sunday, Las Vegas came back from down 24-10 halftime deficit, only to have a potential game-tying two-point conversion broken up. Despite being three games into his Raiders career, McDaniels had a long postgame meeting with owner Mark Davis, which caused a delay in his post-game press conference.
McDaniels has used seven different offensive line combinations already this season and ended Sunday’s game with two rookies and a former practice squad player among the five linemen.
New receiver acquisition Davante Adams has caught only half the balls sent his way—17 receptions in 34 targets. He has a combined seven catches for 48 yards in the last two games.
Broncos vs. Raiders: Our Betting Picks
The Broncos beat a potential Super Bowl contender in San Francisco last week, so it’s hard to discount their two wins.
Still, this is looking like the week the Raiders break through. Look for McDaniel to get his first win against a Broncos coach who looks overmatched.
For this game's NFL picks, we like the game to be higher scoring than Denver has shown this season, and we like a bounce back for Adams, who has been finding the end zone, even though his overall production has been iffy.
NFL Pick: Davante Adams Over 0.5 Touchdowns (Odds TBD) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.