Current Odds: -3
ESPN inLine: -1
Accuscore: -2.1 (44% Dog)
What happened last season:
Shannahan calls a timeout to seal the victory in hte first game, but the Broncos get blown out in the second game.
Denver: 39 for 65, 483 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT
–> Walker: 8 for 101 (Now with Raiders)
–> Stokley 6 for 145, 1 TD
Oakland: 26 for 44, 270 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT
Denver: 51 for 248 (4.86 ypc), 2 TD, 2 Fumbles Lost
Oakland: 64 for 355 (5.55 ypc), 1 TD, 1 Fumble Lost
Turnover Margin: +2
What is different:
New Defensive Scheme
New Starters: WR E. Royal, WR D. Jackson, LT R. Clady, RB S. Young, RT R. Harris, DT M. Thomas, SS M. Manuel, FS M. McCree
Significant Losses: J. Walker, J. Lynch, Marshall (Game 1), T. Henry, R. Torrain (Injury)
Significant Gains: D. Jackson, M. Pittman
Impact Draft Picks: R. Clady, E. Royal
James Lofton – WR Coach
New Starters: J. Russell, K. Harris, J. Grove, R. Brown, G. Warren, T. Kelly (At DT), J. Richardson, G. Wilson, M. Huff (at FS), D. Hall.
Significant Losses: Je. Porter, D. Carter (IR), O. O’Neal (IR)
Significant Gains: G. Wilson, D. Hall, J. Walker, M. Bush, T. Watkins
Impact Draft Picks: D. McFadden, T. Branch, C. Schilens
What is the same:
Denver: Cutler, Dumervil, Bailey, Bly are the all-stars of the team. Bailey is still the best by reputation, but Bly takes too many risks to get interceptions. Cutler is a great leader, and we will see if the leadership and athletic abilty turn him into a star. Dumervil should register double digit sacks and might be the only bright spot on the defense besides the elite CB combo.
Oakland: Fargas, Burgess, Asomugha, Howard, Morrison, Griffith. There is plenty if pro bowl caliber talent on this team, but the holes along the lines weaken their ability to show it. Fargas should be healthier with the emergence of McFadden and Bush, Burgess is healthy and primed for geat year, Asomugha should no longer be ignored with Hall on the other side, Howard and Morrison are elite in ocverage, but need to be better filling gaps. Griffith is pushed into a more expansive role with the loss of O’Neal.
Keys to Victory:
Broncos: Stop the run
Oakland Stop the run
Its no big coincidence that these teams struggled because they failed to stop the run. The Raiders added/moved around players to help in that area, while the Broncos did little to help their personnel. However, the change in defensive system should help them. Expect to see 8 or even 9 men in hte box for both teams with the expectation to force young QBs and unproven WRs beat them.
Put the fact that I am a member of he Raider Nation aside…
The Raiders will win this one. The Raiders should have been 2-0 behind the McCown led Raiders last season. At that time Marshall was full strength and the Raiders had a mix of Fargas and Jordan and defense without Kelly at DT in the second game and without J. Richardson at DE in the first game (No offense to Warren Sapp). Plus the addition of so much other talent should give the Raiders an edge. Don’t bet against a revamped team at home with a head coach on the hot seat.
To the Broncos credit, Ryan Clady is going to be a star in the ZBS, and should be a solid LT from the start.
Post your comments…I may have missed some things…tell me what you think…etc.