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Inside the Points - Week 3
By Fritz Schlottman
September 19, 2003
 

This is a weekly view of the upcoming games considering the perspective of the sportsbooks to see how their information about teams and trends can be relevant to your fantasy football team. There are probably a few of you who feel that the gaming industry should give to you for a change. This view is interesting and different from fantasy football since it considers the teams and games as a whole first considering trends and motivations and only later the players – almost the exact opposite from when you decide your weekly starting players.

If you would like a detailed introduction to this new weekly feature at The Huddle please click here.

New York Jets (0-2) at New England (1-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 37.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 37
Jets 17, Patriots 20

Trends
        NYJ     NE

Date

Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/22/2002 NYJ 30 NE 17 393 108 285 216 97 119
9/15/2002 NE 44 NYJ 7 200 32 168 432 163 269
12/2/2001 NE 17 NYJ 16 282 119 163 264 73 191
9/23/2001 NYJ 10 NE 3 238 111 127 308 107 201
10/15/2000 NYJ 34 NE 17 294 164 130 249 51 198
9/11/2000 NE 19 NYJ 20 330 59 271 293 100 193

Under is 8-2 in Jets last 10 games overall.
Under is 11-4 in the Pats last 15 overall.
Away has won the last five contests.
12 of 21 games in this series have gone over since 1992.

Motivation

A big divisional game for both teams. The Jets will be eager to avoid an 0-3 start and the Patriots will be looking to avoid falling two divisional games behind the Bills. New York got bombed on the road against the Buffalo in Week 2 while the Patriots bounced back against the Eagles.

Opinion

The handicappers have been all over the Jets this week. Their offensive line and RB Curtis Martin have been getting the most heat. The sportsbook's are saying that Martin looks old and may be done. New York's offensive line has gotten a lot of criticism for their play. Also, the Jets linebackers are getting blasted again this week for being slow.

Vegas doesn't believe that the Patriots will be going back to the Super Bowl any time soon. The soft offensive line play and the lack of a running game has the handicappers down on New England. The best the Patriots can do on offense is put five receivers in the pattern and get rid of the ball quickly.

Not much to chose from between these two teams. The defenses and the receivers are about equal, so whichever quarterback plays better will lead their team to victory. With the away team winning the last five contests you have to give a slight edge to the Jets.

The weather may effect this football game. If neither team can throw, this will be a very low scoring football game.

Pittsburgh (1-1) at Cincinnati (0-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 46.5

Predicted Outcome
Total points = 44
Cincinnati 24, Steelers 20

Trends
        PIT     CIN  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
11/24/2002 CIN 21 PIT 29 391 156 235 352 54 298
10/13/2002 PIT 34 CIN 7 408 211 197 268 78 190
12/30/2001 PIT 23 CIN 26 313 73 240 544 141 403
10/7/2001 CIN 7 PIT 16 412 274 138 214 65 149
11/26/2000 PIT 48 CIN 28 372 185 187 309 209 100
10/15/2000 CIN 0 PIT 15 274 103 171 232 120 112

Over is 14-6 in Steelers last 20 games overall.
Pittsburgh has won the last two games.

Motivation

Another divisional game featuring an 0-2 football team. The Steelers are coming off a road loss to the Chiefs while the Bengals are home after suffering a tough loss in Oakland.

Opinion

Vegas thinks the Bengals may be a "live dog" this week. They looked a lot more like the team that was winning football games at the end of 2002 last weekend against the Raiders then the team that got blown out against he Broncos in Week 1. If they've got it together, they may sneak up on the Steelers this week.

Pittsburgh can't really take advantage of Cincinnati's weakness (stopping the run) because they haven't been able to run the ball themselves this year. Cincinnati's RB Cory Dillon is injured, so the Bengals will be throwing the ball as well. Dillon has been huge in games against the Steelers averaging nearly 100 yards per contest.

Jacksonville (0-2) at Indianapolis (2-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 43.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 42.5
Indianapolis 31, Jacksonville 10

Trends
        JAX     IND  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/29/2002 JAC 13 IND 20 266 154 112 272 126 146
9/8/2002 IND 28 JAC 25 343 118 225 307 104 203
9/25/2000 JAC 14 IND 43 286 97 189 533 93 440

Over is 7-3-2 in Jags last 12 games overall.
Colts last four games overall played under.
Colts have won the last three games.
3 of 4 games in this series have gone over since 1992.
In three career starts vs. Jacksonville, Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown for 797 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Motivation

The Jaguars were awful in their loss to the Bills. The Colts are coming off an emotional victory over their AFC South rivals (the Titans). This is another divisional game featuring a 0-2 team. Indy head coach Tony Dungy used to coach Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio, so there's a little "inside baseball" to this game.

Opinion

Jacksonville has all sorts of players missing on defense. They weren't very good to begin with and now they may be dreadful. Look for the Colts to move the ball on the ground and play "Dungy Ball". The Colts have dominated this series and Vegas thinks they win this game going away. This is a lot of handicapper's best play this week.

Minnesota (2-0) at Detroit (1-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 46.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 47
Minnesota 27, Detroit 20

Trends
        MIN     DET  

Date

Away

Home

Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/29/2002

MIN 38

DET 36

450 154 296 386 93 293
10/13/2002

DET 24

MIN 31

402 111 291 354 53 301
12/16/2001

MIN 24

DET 27

314 80 234 369 167 202
10/14/2001

DET 26

MIN 31

343 145 198 457 129 328
11/30/2000

DET 17

MIN 24

305 145 160 352 139 213
10/1/2000

MIN 31

DET 24

439 178 261 355 129 226

The last four meetings have played over.
Over is 14-8 for the Vikings last 22 overall.
Over is 7-3 in Lions last 10 games overall.
Minnesota has won 5 of the last 6 games in the series.
Minnesota QB Culpper is 5-0 vs. the Lions.
The Vikings have won five straight going back to last year.

Motivation

Minnesota come off two divisional wins and a third victory would be huge, giving them no worse than a tie in head-to-head match-ups within the division and an undefeated divisional record at the halfway mark. Detroit comes off a big loss on the road in Wisconsin, where they never seem to play well.

Opinion

The handicappers love Minnesota in this game. The Vikings offensive line has been outstanding. They're moving the ball on the ground no matter who's carrying the football. Even though Chicago and Green Bay don't have the best defenses in the league, they're better than Detroit. Vegas thinks that the visitors will move the ball up and down the field in Detroit this weekend.

Heck, they even like the Vikings defense. The sportsbooks have noticed that Minnesota's defense has created some turnovers and shown some cover skills. That's a huge improvement in the secondary from the past five years when opposing quarterbacks hurt them with impunity. Minnesota is also strong on the road and should win this game by more than ten points.

The handicappers have no mercy on the Lions. You get statements like; "Detroit's defense is terrible. They have absolutely no talent in the secondary." Gee, what do you really think? The Lions offense did not have a good week last Sunday, but should have a better effort against the Vikings. The wise guys think this should be a high scoring game.

New Orleans (1-1) at Tennessee (1-1)

Vegas Line
Off the Board

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = no prediction

Trends
No recent meetings between these teams.

Over is 5-1 in Saints last six Sep. games.
Under is 8-3 in New Orleans last 11 home games.

Motivation

Tennessee came out flat against the Colts on the road last week. The Saints bounced back from a road loss at Seattle to beat the Texans at home. The Titans have a huge home field advantage and really get up for games at Adelphi.

Opinion

As one handicapper said, "New Orleans often has brain cramps. The make mistakes, take penalties, and turn the ball over at inopportune times." He went further to name New Orleans QB Aaron Brooks as the Saint most likely to have a brain-freeze. The consensus is that Brooks, when he's right is very good, but he isn't right that often.

The Saints got back into the game at Houston by bringing the blitz. The Saints have been very aggressive this year, which is a change in their defensive philosophy. However, they have five of their starters out injured and its all the best parts of this defense.

With a lot of new players in the line-up, the crowd noise at Adelphi could cause a lot of problems. The Raiders couldn't hear the snap count at all in their opening night loss. The Saints could face the same problems this week. Look for a sloppy game and lots of false starts on offense.

Tennessee got beat up against the Colts. Indy really took it to the Titans physically. Normally, it's the Titans offensive line and their defense that are bringing the physical play. To make matters worse, the Tennessee offensive line, the strength of this team, is now hurting. The power game is gone and their wide receivers are inconsistent.

The handicappers think Eddie George can't run the football. Two yards per carry isn't good enough to keep him in the starting line-up and not having a running game puts more pressure on a fragile QB Steve McNair. The pros think Robert Holcomb may be the starting runningback for Tennessee very soon.

No line is up because McNair's status is unknown.

Tampa Bay (1-1) at Atlanta (1-1)

Vegas Line
Total points = 35.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 37.5
Tampa Bay 24, Atlanta 13

Trends
        TB     ATL  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/8/2002 ATL 10 TB 34 421 150 271 181 68 113
10/6/2002 TB 20 ATL 6 327 74 253 243 70 173
11/5/2000 TB 27 ATL 14 267 126 141 283 59 224

Under is 5-2 in Bucs last seven overall.
Over is 3-1 in the last four meetings.
Tampa Bay has won the last three games by more than 10 points and have won five straight in this series.

Motivation

Tampa Bay is on the road after opening their home schedule with an embarrassing overtime loss against the Panthers. Atlanta collapsed late at home last week against Washington. Tampa Bay has owned this series even with Atlanta QB Michael Vick in the line-up.

Opinion

Tampa Bay moved the ball effectively, had plenty of opportunities, but let last week's game against the Panthers get away. They're probably not too pleased at the result and may take it out on the Falcons. The casinos haven't yet seen the significant offensive improvement they expected from Tampa this year, but they've played two pretty good defensive teams. The experts think Tampa should win this game easily

The word from the sportsbooks is, If you're going to beat Tampa you have to cut off their running attack, make them throw the ball, and run the ball against their defense. Atlanta can't do any of those things. Atlanta averages 98 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. That's not good enough. This is the worst of the three offenses Tampa's played this season. The Falcons can't play defense either. Dallas got lots of yards on this team and the Redskins quarterback had his way with their secondary. Atlanta has allowed more yards (419) than any other team in the league, and that was against the Cowboys and Redskins, hardly two offensive giants.

On the other hand, Tampa Bay can play defense. In this series, they have allowed the Falcons 10 points per game on average. Vegas is expecting Atlanta QB Doug Johnson to be eaten up by the Buc's defense. Johnson has the capacity to throw the long ball, but the Falcons didn't use it against the Redskins. Part of the problem has been that the offensive game plan has been very conservative. Atlanta has to get production out of the passing game to be competitive this week, but the play calling has to be there also.

Kansas City (2-0) at Houston (1-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 43.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 41
Kansas City 24, Houston 17

Trends
No regular season meetings between these teams.

Over is 12-6 in Chiefs last 18 games overall.
Over is 4-2 in Texans last six games at home.

Motivation

The Chiefs have dominated their first two games against the Chargers and the Steelers. Kansas City came from 17 points behind against Pittsburgh to blow out the visitors. Houston has played hard in both their games so far this season, but regressed on offense in the loss in New Orleans.

Opinion

The Texans played very well against Miami, and not so well last week. Can they surprise this Chiefs team? Vegas thinks it's possible.

With a 2-0 record, coming off a victory at home against the Steelers, and going on the road against an underrated Texans squad, this game sets up to be a letdown game for Kansas City. You have a lot of handicappers taking a long, hard look at the home dog and the points in this game.

While the Chiefs defense has been impressive in creating turnovers, they are still giving up too many yards. Vegas knows that you can't count on turnovers on the road. But the big question on everyone's mind is the health of Kansas City RB Priest Holmes. We don't know yet how serious his injury is, but his back up is a huge drop-off and would drastically change how 'Vegas looks at this game.

Houston has some things going for them. The Texans have been willing to throw the long ball. The experts take this as a sign that the organization is more confident with their protection and their defense and is playing to win football games, not just to avoid embarrassment. That makes them more of a "live dog".

It's not all good news in Houston, however. The Texans suffered another major loss on their defensive line, losing their nose tackle. With two undrafted players on the front three, the handicappers don't know if Houston will be able to put pressure on the quarterback.

New York Giants (1-1) at Washington (2-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 41.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 43
New York 23, Washington 20

Trends
        NYG     WAS  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/8/2002 NYG 27 WAS 21 316 111 205 447 132 315
11/17/2002 WAS 17 NYG 19 299 88 211 166 60 106
10/28/2001 NYG 21 WAS 35 388 42 346 353 157 196
10/7/2001 WAS 9 NYG 23 310 135 175 180 56 124
12/3/2000 NYG 9 WAS 7 305 141 164 290 29 261
9/24/2000 WAS 16 NYG 6 261 93 168 394 110 284

The last three meetings have played over.
Over is 9-3 in the Giants last 12 overall.
Under is 4-1 in the Skins last five at home.
New York has won the last 2 games and 4 of the last 6.

Motivation

This is a much bigger game for the Giants. If they lose, they'll be -2 in the division and no better than a tie in head-to-head competition. Washington is coming off two victories, one at home and the latest on the road. If they win, they take a commanding lead in the division. This is one of the bigger rivalry games on the East Coast.

Opinion

The Redskins are having trouble protecting the quarterback and are giving up five sacks per game. The Giants defensive strength is getting pressure on the passer. Edge New York. Given this advantage, most of the handicappers are expecting the Giants will win this football game.

The Giants were taking hits for some of the decision-making on Monday night. This has a lot of weight among the experts as they expect that New York will be in a lot of tight games this season. The Giants offense is good, but they aren't capable of blowing out opponents. Dumb decisions have cost them one victory after two games, how many more games will they lose because of poor tactics and have they learned anything from the loss? Until those questions are answered, the wise guys don't like playing New York's games.

Green Bay (1-1) at Arizona (0-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 43

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 40
Green Bay 20, Arizona 10

Trends
        GB     ARI  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
9/24/2000 GB 29 ARI 3 455 176 279 209 28 181

Under is 4-2 in the Packers last six overall.
Over is 7-2 in the Cards last nine overall.

Motivation

Green Bay comes off a bounce-back home victory over the Lions and goes on the road for the first time this season. Arizona got bombed last week at home against the Seahawks.

Opinion

Is Arizona the worst team in the NFL? Maybe not- Vegas thinks they do have some very young, very raw talent. As an example of progress, the Cardinals outgained Detroit by 200 yards Week 1, but had three turnovers. Last week, they had six turnovers in the big loss to the Seahawks. The insiders think Arizona is going to beat a team like the Packers some time this season, but they have so many injuries that it will be difficult this week. QB Jeff Blake is now probable (heal), but three of the Cardinals top four receivers are questionable this week. All of their best defenders are either questionable or doubtful and Arizona had three players with concussions last Sunday. This team needs to get healthy before they can upset an overconfident opponent.

The Packers are very vulnerable this week. The handicappers don't like Green Bay at all. They are coming off a big home win and they have their own injuries at wide receiver and they're on the road for the first time this year. Vegas thinks this may be a low scoring game if both offenses play sloppy football.

St. Louis (1-1) at Seattle (2-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 47.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 44
Seattle 27, St. Louis 17

Trends
        STL     SEA  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/22/2002 STL 10 SEA 30 271 17 254 392 100 292
10/20/2002 SEA 20 STL 37 478 218 260 290 50 240
9/10/2000 STL 37 SEA 34 476 97 379 340 101 239

Motivation

St. Louis is coming off a big overtime win at home against their most hated rivals while Seattle is 2-0 after wiping the floor with their first two opponents.

Opinion

Vegas has spent the week analyzing why QB Kurt Warner has struggled and the Rams have lost with him in the line-up while they've won with Bulger at quarterback. One theory is Rams Head Coach Mike Martz has more confidence in QB Kurt Warner's ability to absorb the entire playbook. On the other hand, Bulger only gets about one third of the playbook. As a result, they run the ball more with Bulger out there, and St. Louis wins as a result. As Warner is unlikely to start again as long as the Rams are winning, just file that tidbit of information for future use.

St. Louis has disappointed the fans and the experts. They were fortunate to get the victory last week when they had the 49ers at home coming off a big victory. They had all the itangibles going for them and yet they played badly enough to almost lose that football game.

The experts don't like this football team. The consensus among the handicappers is that St. Louis isn't nearly as talented as they were during their glory years. The Rams offensive line can't block the blitz and can't run the ball well enough to be more than an average offensive football team and they don't have that third and fourth receiver they've had in the past. Even RB Marshall Faulk is being questioned. The insiders think he isn't the back he used to be.

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. St. Louis is among the worst teams for turning over the football and the Seahawks are the best at taking the football away. Seattle is +10 in the turnover margin coming into this game and the Rams can't quit making mistakes. The Rams had seven fumbles in their game against the Giants. Last week, St. Louis gave up five sacks and QB Bulger was under constant pressure. In addition to the turnover margin, the Seahawks have the edge in coaching, rushing and special teams in this game. Vegas considers the Seattle offense to be as good as there is in their division and in the NFC.

Baltimore (1-1) at San Diego (0-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 40.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 37
Baltimore 20, San Diego 17

Trends
        BAL     SD  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/10/2000 SD 3 BAL 24 276 110 166 128 64 64

The last three meetings have played under.
Baltimore's last four on the road have played over.

Motivation

Big game for San Diego- they need a victory or they're fading playoff hopes may be dead after three games. Both runningbacks are talking smack in the press. Ravens RB Jamal Lewis more or less called Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson just another runningback that was going to be hammered by Baltimore MLB Ray Lewis. Tomlinson said he'll let his play do his talking. As neither side is likely to have much success throwing the football, it may well come down to a battle of the ball carriers.

Opinion

SD are a young defense that haven't looked that good and they are desperate for a win. But the Chargers may not have enough talent on the field to come away with a good performance.

Vegas faults the Chargers' organization for putting so much into the acquisition of WR David Boston. San Diego doesn't have any other receivers and Boston needs to play football, because team's know all they have to do is take away Tomlinson to win without Boston in the lineup. That said, the experts think Boston probably will not play this week, and may not play at all this season. Without him in the lineup, San Diego can't pass the ball even against lose zones late in the game.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Chargers have the fourth worst rushing defense in the NFL. Handicappers have San Diego as probably one of the five weakest teams in the NFL right now because they are so helpless on defense.

Ravens thought they would not be able to practice on Thursday and maybe Friday due to the hurricane if they stayed in Baltimore. The team is already out on the West Cost and will be making due on the road for an extended period this week.

Cleveland (0-2) at San Francisco (1-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 44

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 40
San Francisco 30, Cleveland 10

Trends
No recent meetings between these teams.

Under is 6-3-1 in the Browns last 10 overall.
Over is 6-2 in 49ers last eight at home.

Motivation

Carmon Policy is hated in San Francisco. The 49ers fans blame him for the salary cap problems that led to the dismantling of their Super Bowl teams. On the other hand, Policy would like nothing better than beating the team that ran him out of town.

Opinion

The experts' opinions are that the Browns can't start 0-3 any have much of a chance of making the playoffs. But unless the offense gets out of its funk and the defense begins to tackle, there's no reason to expect that they will go on the road and beat the 49ers.

Starting three 2nd year linebackers has not been good. They aren't making tackles and as a result this is not a very good Browns defense. When you give up nearly three hundred yards of rushing after the Ravens announced they were going to run the football, your linebackers are just not doing the job.

The 49ers are able to run the ball and should be able to take advantage of the Browns problems on defense. Perhaps SF would not be fired up if they hadn't lost a close game last week and weren't playing at home this week. In a letdown game, the underdog Browns may have a chance even if they didn't bring their "A" game.

Buffalo (2-1) at Miami (1-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 40.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 40
Buffalo 23, Miami 17

Trends
        BUF     MIA  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/1/2002 MIA 21 BUF 38 431 161 270 300 270 30
10/20/2002 BUF 23 MIA 10 294 132 162 287 132 155
1/6/2002 BUF 7 MIA 34 250 39 211 289 202 87
11/25/2001 MIA 34 BUF 27 422 127 295 364 101 263
12/3/2000 MIA 33 BUF 6 196 160 36 333 133 200
10/8/2000 BUF 13 MIA 22 254 76 178 254 120 134

Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
Under is 12-6 in Miami's last 18 games overall.
Buffalo has won the last two games.

Motivation

The Bills are looking to go 3-0 against their division, while Miami looks to regain their dominance in this series. These teams are long rivals going back to the 70's when O.J. and the great Dolphins' teams of that era were going at it.

Opinion

No consensus on this game. The handicappers seem equally divided between the two sides.

This Buffalo team may be very good. Head Coach Greg Williams turned down a contract this off-season because he thought he would have a very good team this year and could cash in after the season. He looks like a genius right now. Buffalo gave up over 33 points per game in the first six games of 2002 and less than 16 points per game down the stretch. The Bills defense has played very well and the offense has been outstanding. But, they haven't run the ball very well and that may hurt them in this game as the Dolphins will come after the immobile Drew Bledsoe if the Bills can't keep them honest by establishing some kind of running attack. Bledsoe has had huge games against the Dolphins in his career and will murder them again if he's allowed to be comfortable in the pocket and fire the football.

On the other hand, the handicappers think the Miami defense may not be as good as in prior seasons. They have not been impressed by the changes that have been made. Miami had zero sacks and zero turnovers against the Texans. They had one sack and one turnover against the Jets. This week, the Miami secondary does not match up well against the Buffalo WRs.

Last year, Buffalo played a 5-1 Miami team that was favored by five. This year, Buffalo has been the better team and they're getting three points. what gives? A lot of it has to do with the lack of success Buffalo's had in South Florida over the years. History, rather than talent is driving this line.

Oakland (1-1) at Denver (2-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 45

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 43
Oakland 23, Denver 20

Trends
        OAK     DEN  
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/22/2002 DEN 16 OAK 28 322 136 186 324 81 243
11/11/2002 OAK 34 DEN 10 374 27 347 342 77 265
12/30/2001 OAK 17 DEN 23 334 51 283 231 106 125
11/5/2001 DEN 28 OAK 38 356 114 242 366 119 247
11/13/2000 OAK 24 DEN 27 411 38 373 329 71 258
9/17/2000 DEN 33 OAK 24 263 123 140 387 182 205

Under is 12-3 in the Raiders last 15 overall.
Oakland has won three of the last four meetings.

Motivation

Denver Head Coach Mike Shanahan hates Raider owner Al Davis. Davis fired Shanahan and the Broncis coach still contends the Raiders' owner owes him money. This will be a very intense week for both teams. There is no bigger rivalry in the West.

Opinion

The Oakland Raiders have been disappointing. Terms like "lackluster" and "Super Bowl hangover" are getting tossed about in the sportsbooks. To be fair, they don't seem to be quite right after two weeks. They're not clicking right now on either side of the ball. If any team other than Cincinnati or Arizona had played them last week, Oakland would have lost that football game.

A lot of handicappers are looking towards history for guidance this week. Oakland went on an 0-4 stretch last season, looked old and terrible, and went on the road to Denver and smoked them. The Raiders have won three of the last four meetings, including both last year 34-10 in Denver and 28-16 in Oakland a month later. QB Rich Gannon completed 23 passes in a row against the Bronco's defense in Denver. While Vegas haven't seen anything out of Oakland yet this season, there's a thought circulating that this may finally be the game where they reestablish themselves as the team to beat in the AFC.

The experts are questioning the Broncos even after their dominating performances against the Bengals and the Chargers. The reasoning goes, sure they looked good, but that was against two very bad football teams. What's going to happen when their injured quarterback and runningback have to play a fired up Oakland Raiders football team? Vegas expects the Raiders to reestablish their running game and to pound the ball at the questionable Bronco front wall and then throw play action and take advantage of Denver's inexperienced secondary.