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PREVIEW: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Don't look now Bronco Fans but your team is 9-3 and seemingly coming together at just the right time, riding the precise right arm of All-Universe QB Peyton Manning and a Defense sprinkled with savvy veterans and young, blue chip impact players.
Don't look now Raiders Fans. Seriously...just don't even look. It's best to turn away as this year's group of star-crossed silver and black swashbucklers stumble to the finish line, keeping true to what will now be a 10 year playoff-free diet.
At first glance, this Match-up would appear to be a runaway in the making however there are reasons to believe that we could be in for an entertaining match-up when these two teams square off tonight.
Peyton Manning is must-see TV from the moment he buckles his chin strap, and when he faces the 31st Ranked Defense in the NFL tonight, there's reason to believe that the Scoreboard is due for the type of workout that would make a Marine Corps Drill Sergant blush. Manning is the Rolls Royce of the precision passing game, and as he continues to gain familiarity with his underrated receiving core, one could argue that this Broncos Team is the Odds on favorite to represent the AFC in New Orleans come early February.
Oakland on the other hand is perpetually betwixt and between, struggling to come to grips with whether to re-build or contend, bringing in Carson Palmer for a gaggle of draft picks in an effort to pursue the latter. Although Palmer has shown flashes of his former self, inconsistent line play coupled with an oft-injured albeit ultra-talented Darren McFadden has made for a disappointing and uneven performance, scoring a mere 44 points over the last 3 weeks.
To add insult to injury, Denver strafed Oakland back in late September 37-6 in the Mile High City.
Look for plenty of scoring tonight as Coach Dennis Allen digs deep into his bag of tricks in an effort to score the 34-35 points necessary to steal this game. The Raiders have the kind of play makers to keep this one interesting for a few quarters, and teams that drop 37-6 decisions to their rivals early in the season tend to take that kind of beating personally. Oakland will come to play with the whole football world watching in prime time - revenge isn't just lip service or newspaper fodder in the National Football League.
You can also count on an always lathered up Oakland Raider Fan Base to be on hand in full throat (and costume), relishing the role of spoiler to one of its longest and most bitter of rivals.
Expect a hard fought, close game in the early stages however in the end it will be too much Peyton Manning, too much Von Miller, and just too much period. Denver will establish the run early in an effort to control the clock and wear down a spotty Oakland Defense and run away with Peyton and company late.
Broncos 33 Raiders 19