The last two teams to get their NFL campaign underway are the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos and they meet in the second match of the Monday Night Football double header to round off the first week of the season.
Both these sides stunk the place out last season and will be hell bent on making sure there is no repeat of their struggles. One is under a new coach and trigger man while the other still looks a bit of a mess.
The week leading up to the start of the season has been dominated by the acrimonious exit of Antonio Brown, the man who was signed to replace Amari Cooper who left last season. Unfortunately that isn’t going to be the case anymore and when JJ Nelson is the next best you kind of fear for the passing game of this Raiders side, unless someone unknown can come to the party in a big way.
The plus side is that the Raiders have done some decent work to their defensive structure but between them Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden will know that there is so much more work to do. Nobody has ever shied away from the fact that this is a long-term plan but at the same time teams need to offer up progress and it will be interesting to see if any of that exists here.
Vance Joseph was never going to survive a 6-10 season and so he has been replaced by Vic Fangio and a new era begins with a new quarterback in the form of Joe Flacco. He has moved from the Baltimore Ravens with the task of lighting up an offense that had gone stale, albeit having lost its best receiver. He has some good run options around him and will need to utilise them to the full you would think.
The strength of the Broncos remains their defence. They have some veteran players who are still among the best in the league in the positions that they play and they will be crucial to any success they may or may not have. As ever when there is a new coach in town it is hard to know exactly what we’re going to get from the Broncos in terms of style, but it would be a surprise if their play doesn’t revolve around their defensive strength.
It is really hard to get excited the Oakland Raiders right now. They look a bit of a mess and they have a lot of young players who are going to need a few weeks if not the entire season to get up to speed with this level. I would expect Denver Broncos to win this match but they themselves appear a team in transition so I’m not convinced they should be relied upon to go on the road and win the match by a field goal or more.
It might be that both teams struggle at the outset in this one so it is the under that I like the look of here. I’m not expecting many big plays and both teams look more set up to run the ball than pass it so I’m expecting plenty of grounding and pounding throughout the contest. We saw the first match of the week be a low scoring divisional rivalry match and I suspect the last one can be too. I’ll take under 43 here.
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