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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

Prediction: OAK 3, DEN 24

The Raiders fell in their home opener, proving that their offense is better than last year and their defense really wasn't all that great in 2006, opponents just never felt the motivation to sweat while they beat them. The Broncos had their standard surprisingly sluggish season opener but this year they managed to win the game with the special teams fire drill as the clock expired. These games are never in doubt, the question is how badly will Denver want to show up the Raiders again.

The Broncos swept the Raiders 13-3 in Denver and 17-13 in Oakland last year.

Update: Josh McCown did not participate in practice on Wednesday after cracking a bone in his finger last week. He did return on Thursday but split snaps with Daunte Culpepper working with the first team offense. It will likely be a game time decision but unlike last week, the match-up in Denver is hardly attractive this week. I am lowering his projections a bit but realize that Culpepper could end up as the starter on Sunday.

Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 21-36 -1 39
2 @DEN 16-Sep +10 37.5
3 CLE 23-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
4 @MIA 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 BYE - - -
6 @SD 14-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
7 KC 21-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
8 @TEN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 HOU 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 CHI 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @MIN 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @KC 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 DEN 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @GB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 IND 16-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
16 @JAC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SD 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
OAK at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh McCown 10   150
RB Lamont Jordan 40 50  
TE Zach Miller   30  
WR Jerry Porter   40  
WR Ronald Curry   30  
WR Mike Williams   10  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG    
Pregame Notes: The Raiders posted an impressive three touchdowns against one of the worst defenses in the league of the Lions and Janikowski even missed field goals again. If the Raiders could only play at home against the Lions every week , this offense holds a lot of fantasy promise. but on the road this week to Denver? Not so much really. In the tit-for-tat world of the NFL, the Raiders are also re-discovering that scoring only prompts opponents to do it as well... and more at that.

Quarterback: Despite the preseason results, the Raiders opted to bench Daunte Culpepper last week and go with Josh McCown who had a great game of 313 yards and two scores against just two interceptions. McCown is the named starter this week but JaMarcus Russell just signed so he's just a place holder really. And Denver will show McCown just what a secondary can do. McCown injured his index finger and may not be able to play this week. I will update if warranted.

Andrew Walter started both games against the Broncos last year and never scored. He topped out at 214 passing yards.

Running Backs: Lamont Jordan rewarded everyone who waited too long to draft their second tailback when he gained 70 yards on 15 carries and scored once while also catching nine passes for 89 yards - shades of 2005! Sort of makes you wonder what the heck Art Shell was thinking last year when Jordan became a pure runner. That soft Detroit defense made Jordan look very good once again and even allowed him to creep above the 4.0 yards per carry average which has eluded him in most every game while with Oakland.

The Raiders never rushed for more than 60 yards in either meeting with the Broncos last year. Jordan had one score in the home game but only gained 12 yards on ten carries.

Wide Receivers: It did not take long for McCown to realize that Ronald Curry was being covered by an equipment cart instead of an NFL cornerback and Curry had a career best ten catches for 133 yards and one touchdown against the Lions. Maybe Champ Bailey will also be ineffective this week. Maybe not.

Jerry Porter ended up with only two catches for 26 yards and even Mike Williams had a catch. but this passing attack was almost entirely about Curry and Jordan last week and facing the Denver secondary this week should have dramatically different results.

Randy Moss turned in 86 yards on five catches against the Broncos in week 6 in Denver but no other wideout had more than 53 yards and none scored.

Tight Ends: A small but positive development was that the rookie Zach Miller had six passes thrown to him and caught three for 23 yards. Okay, so he fumbled once too but the Raiders fully intend on developing this talented tight end.

Match Against the Defense: Marshawn Lynch had surprising success running against the Broncos last week but that won't happen again in Denver for Jordan. Look for lower rushing numbers here and probably no chance of a touchdown though Jordan can make it up with receptions if the Raiders continue to use him as a receiver. With all-world cornerbacks on the defense, safe bet that Jordan will be used heavily again this week.

McCown will take a big step down from last week and should turn in low numbers against what is probably the best pass defense in the NFL right now. If he scores, and he may not, it would almost have to go to Jordan or Miller.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 7 1 12 17 27 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 1 17 4 5 4 23


Denver Broncos (1-1)
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BUF 15-14 -3.5 37
2 OAK 16-Sep -10 37.5
3 JAC 23-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
4 @IND 30-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
5 SD 7-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
6 BYE - - -
7 PIT 21-Oct SUN 8:15 PM
8 GB 29-Oct MON 8:30 PM
9 @DET 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 @KC 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 TEN 19-Nov MON 8:30 PM
12 @CHI 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @OAK 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 KC 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 @HOU 13-Dec THU 8:15 PM
16 @SD 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 MIN 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
DEN vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     230,2
RB Travis Henry 120,1 20  
TE Daniel Graham   20  
WR Javon Walker   80,1  
WR Brandon Stokley   40  
WR Brandon Marshall   50,1  
PK Jason Elam 3 XP 1 FG  

Pregame Notes: Denver barely squeaked out a win last week but the reality was that the offense moved freely between the 20 yard lines but then stalled without scoring. Elam missed two field goals and Cutler killed another drive with an interception. By the stats, the game should not have come down to the final play and the Denver offense looked great - all except when it got near the endzone. Back at home for the opener against the Raiders, look for that problem scoring to go away. Denver didn't score much against the Raiders last year because no one had to but with Cutler playing in the home opener, expect better results this time.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler definitely spent his offseason working. He came out against the Bills and looked like he already had several years under his belt when he threw for 304 yards and one score. More importantly, he didn't just dink and dunk with tight ends this time, he found Javon Walker repeatedly and showed great accuracy and touch on several passes. Things are definitely looking up in the Denver offense.

The Broncos never threw much against the Raiders last year but Plummer did have 210 yards and two scores in the game in Oakland. He only needed 102 passing yards in the first meeting.

Running Backs: Travis Henry opened his Broncos career with a bang, rushing for 139 yards on 23 carries and adding three catches for 44 more yards. He just need to start scoring to become an elite fantasy tailback and that should start this week.

The Broncos ran for 85 yards and one score when the Raiders visited in week six last year.

Wide Receivers: After struggling to connect with Javon Walker last year, Cutler had no problems when he threw 15 passes to him with nine completions for 119 yards. When the game came down to the final drive, Cutler zeroed in on Walker almost exclusively and showed remarkable pinpoint accuracy on some of those tight throws. It went so well with Walker that Brandon Marshall's five catches for 52 yards were obscured even though Marshall had the lone passing touchdown. Brandon Stokley also contributed 65 yards on just three catches and his unit it looking very good so far.

Walker scored once and had 62 yards in Oakland against the Raiders and had 75 yards and no touchdowns in the home game.

Tight Ends: All the success with the wideouts only left Daniel Graham with three catches for 24 yards. The Broncos hope this continues.

Match Against the Defense: The "vaunted" Raider defense was exposed last week by the visiting Lions and Denver will oblige by kicking the Raiders when they are down. Look for solid rushing numbers here from Henry who should score at least once.

Cutler faces the secondary that Kitna carved up last week and will want his home opener to be a good one. Look for more success against them using both Walker and Marshall from the slot. The biggest limitation here is how well Henry runs and how early the Broncos get their lead and decide to stop throwing.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 9 12 7 23 8 25
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 30 16 31 23 32 22

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