The Raiders’ Week 17 miracle they will need starts with a win in Denver, as they face the division rival Broncos on Sunday. The Raiders need more than a prayer to get into the playoffs this season, as aside from winning, they need the Texans to beat the Titans, the Ravens to beat the Steelers, and the Colts to beat the Jaguars.
But hey, why not continue their crazy season one more week into the Wild Card round. If all of that does happen, and the Dolphins pull off a miracle at Foxborough, we may get a tuck-rule game rematch with Jon Gruden and Bill Belichick on the sidelines.
Tom Brady and Belichick vs. Derek Carr and Gruden may not happen, but it’s a dream worth playing towards for Oakland. Before beating the Chargers last week, the Raiders lost four straight, including their final game in Oakland.
The Broncos have won three of their last four and have found a spark in rookie quarterback Drew Lock. This team would love to cut off the Raiders’ playoff hopes at the roots. The Broncos are favored by 3.5 at home against the Raiders, with an over/under of 41. Check out our betting preview for this AFC West showdown.
Lightning in a Bottle
The Raiders hope to pull off a little late-season magic and still make the playoffs after their four-game losing streak. This has been one of the more bipolar teams that the NFL has seen in recent memory.
Their weakness has been their defense against the pass. They allow 264 yards per game through the air, which ranks 27th in the league. The Raiders cover the rush very well up front, ranking eighth by allowing 100 yards per game. If the secondary could hold up, that would certainly translate into wins.
Offensively, while a bit inconsistent, the Raiders have been above average for the most part. Before getting injured, running back Josh Jacobs had tallied 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Jacobs will surely be missed Sunday.
Carr is completing over 71 percent of his passes, has 20 touchdowns to eight interceptions, as well as 3,663 yards on the year. Tight end Darren Waller has been a phenom and already has over 1,000 yards.
Denver has won three of its last four and four of its last six games. Lock has started only the last four games for the Broncos but is already leaving his mark on the field. Lock is completing 65 percent of his passes, has six touchdowns and three picks, and has tallied 843 yards in his four starts. Not too shabby behind an offensive line that is well below average.
Courtland Sutton has taken the reins as Lock’s lead wideout, as he has 1,077 yards and six scores this season.
The running back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman has shown some upside at times this season. Lindsay is going to rush for over 1,000 yards on the season and already has over 1,000 total yards and seven touchdowns. Freeman has 748 yards and four touchdowns himself.
Defensively, the Broncos rank 10th in the league and have been solid much of the year. They only gave up 191 yards against the Lions a week ago.
One Last Chance
Week 17 is a week for redemption, for teams, fans, and bettors alike. Denver is 9-6 against the spread this season and a league-leading 5-2 at home. The Raiders are 7-8 against the spread, 3-4 when they’re on the road.
Although one team is playing for something, and that something being the playoffs, the number may lead you in a different direction.